Power Unit Use – Austria…are there 9 penalties coming?

23

Unusually the FIA have not published on the website, their usual report into the power unit elements used prior to the start of the race weekend in Austria.  They have published the usual reports into the new power unit elements that have been fitted during the free practice and qualifying sessions for this Grand Prix.  For those that are interested, the reports are here.

Before Free Practice one a significant number of new elements were fitted, as detailed in Technical Report 8.

Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) – The following drivers fitted their third ICE:

  • Daniel Ricciardo;
  • Max Verstappen;
  • Carlos Sainz;
  • Romain Grosjean;
  • Kevin Magnussen;
  • Nico Hülkenberg;
  • Marcus Ericsson;
  • Pascal Wehrlein.

While Stoffel Vandoorne fitted his fourth (and final allowed) ICE.

Turbocharger (TC) – Many of the same drivers fitted a new TC, the following list fitted their third element:

  • Daniel Ricciardo;
  • Max Verstappen;
  • Carlos Sainz;
  • Nico Hülkenberg;
  • Marcus Ericsson;
  • Pascal Wehrlein.

While these drivers fitted their fourth TC:

  • Romain Grosjean;
  • Kevin Magnussen.

Motor Generator Unit – Heat (MGU-H) – Four drivers fitted their third MGU-H before Free Practice 1:

  • Romain Grosjean;
  • Kevin Magnussen;
  • Marcus Ericsson;
  • Pascal Wehrlein.

While Jolyon Palmer fitted his fourth MGU-H.

Motor Generator Unit – Kinetic (MGU-K) – Again it was the Haas and Sauber drivers who fitted their third MGU-K:

  • Romain Grosjean;
  • Kevin Magnussen;
  • Marcus Ericsson;
  • Pascal Wehrlein.

Energy Store (ES) – Two drivers fitted a new ES, it was Daniil Kvyat’s third and Jolyon Palmer’s second element.

Control Electronics (CE) – The following three drivers all fitted their third CE:

  • Daniil Kvyat;
  • Carlos Sainz;
  • Jolyon Palmer.

Before Free Practice 2, Sergio Perez fitted his second ES, as notified in Technical Report 10.

Technical Report 21 identifies that prior to Free Practice 3, three drivers fitted their fourth MGU-H:

  • Daniel Ricciardo;
  • Max Verstappen;
  • Nico Hü

While Jolyon Palmer needed his second new ES of the weekend (taking his total to three of these elements used so far).

No report was issued for qualifying, so I am assuming that no new elements were required to be fitted.  As a result there are no grid penalties for power unit use this time out (unless someone needs a new part fitted prior to the race.  The following table is my calculation of the power unit elements used so far this season.

It is entirely possible that I may have missed a report from Azerbaijan or one from Austria which may add to these components used.  However it is clear that only the Mercedes powered teams are on track to get to the end of the year without penalties, all the others would need to get far more mileage out of their remaining elements than they have gotten from the first pair of power units if they are to get to the end of the year without penalties.  For those that argue that the teams can use the earlier elements on Friday practice sessions, yes this is true, but most of the new elements fitted this weekend were fitted before the Friday practice sessions.  This indicates to me that the teams didn’t have the confidence that the old units would run reliably through Friday in Austria, so I doubt they would be used at other races.  There are also a significant number of drivers who have used all four of at least one element before race nine has even started:

  • Daniel Ricciardo (MGU-H);
  • Max Verstappen (MGU-H);
  • Sebastian Vettel (TC);
  • Fernando Alonso (all elements);
  • Stoffel Vandoorne (all elements);
  • Romain Grosjean (TC);
  • Kevin Magnussen (TC);
  • Nico Hülkenberg (MGU-H);
  • Jolyon Palmer (TC and MGU-H).

So the Ferrari TC looks particularly vulnerable with half of the drivers using the 2017 component already on their last element.  However it is not as bad as the Renault MGU-H where every single driver is on their final penalty free element.  Honda have long since passed the point where they are even worrying about penalties.

 

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jakobusvdl

Great assessment and summary Dave, things are looking rosy for Mercedes, and Mercedes powered teams. Even tougher for the non-Mercedes teams now they can no longer bank elements, so the pain of penalties may dribble on right through to year.
Is there any word that the FIA might remove or lift the falling lid on p.u and gearbox element usage for 2018 or 2019?

Tom Firth

Horner talking to Sky this weekend was quite interesting. The FIA aim to reduce the number of PU’s that the teams can use across the season, further over the next few years. Brundle asked him whether this had an impact on cost and Horner’s response was that all the PU’s, six of them in Red Bull’s case are built and transported right around the world irregardless of the FIA limits. The only difference from Horner’s perspective is that penalties occur when one of the excess components is used and from what he seemed to say, the team isn’t interested in… Read more »

jakobusvdl

Hi Tom. Yeah, I saw that interview too. It was interesting to hear that they’ve got a skip load of spares that they haul around the world. Obviously they don’t have much faith in the Renault p.u. and that lack of faith is proving to be right. The sinking lid on p.u elements is certainly an ongoing issue. The suppliers who’s p.u’s (and gearboxes) are reliable enough to complete the season on the mandated number of elements have a huge advantage over their rivals. I think it will determine the W.C.C, and W.D.C this year. I hope the FIA and… Read more »

MIE

Teams will always need spare components, just in case there is a failure. Building the power units isn’t where the cost is, it is the constant development that costs the money. Reducing the allowed number of elements is supposed to reduce the amount of development and hence the cost.

jakobusvdl

Hi Dave. Yep, restrictions on resources and components are intended to reduce costs and according to Pat Symonds and Clare Williams (Motorsports podcast), it is working.
On a different forum someone is taking me to task for pointing that out (sigh…).
The ‘skip load of spares’ was a bit tongue in cheek, but it does seem that the lid on spares is sinking a bit fast for the p.u suppliers playing catch up on power and reliability.
I love F1B, where decorum and civility rule ;-)
Cheers

Salvu Borg

JAKO, Were have you ventured too and being taken to task? it must have been to some of the oneeyed type of fan club!

jakobusvdl

A couple of other sites, that seem not to be one eyed or fanboy driven. It seems to come down to individuals who don’t take well to different view points, or who ascribe motives to a post that just aren’t there.
Back the F1B and it’s inclusive community ;-)

Formerly Known As

Until someone brings up the “biased” press and oneeyedfanboy clubs! Tsk. Tsk. Tsk.

DrumPhil

When a car goes over the limit on units, do they suffer a penalty for every race after that? Or is the penalty only for the first race after fitting the excess unit (and each time they add another unit)? For example, McLaren are not being penalized every now, are they? Only those races where they add another new unit?

MIE

The penalty is just applied for the first race the elements are used. So Alonso will get a penalty for new elements fitted this weekend, but not for the ones already used. If he then doesn’t need any new elements in Hungary he will start where he qualifies.

On a related note, the FIA report into power units used up until this point in the season was issued today (Thursday 13 July), and confirms the table shown in the article.

MIE

At Silverstone, FP 1 saw lots of new elements fitted:
Both works Mercedes took their third ICE, TC, MGU-H and MGU-K (a race early, like their second);
Raikkonen took his third ICE and MGU-H, with his fourth TC;
Vettel took his third ICE and CE;
Sainz took his fourth MGU-H;
Hulkenberg took his third MGU-K;
Alonso took his fifth ES, gaining a five place penalty.

Before second practice Kvyat fitted his fourth MGU-H.

Several drivers fitted New gearboxes before Saturday, but only one earns the driver a grid penalty, and that is for Bottas.

jakobusvdl

Thanks for the update Dave.
What’s the strategy for Ferrari and Red Bull to take extra p.u elements to minimise the impact on their points position?
They can’t bank a couple of complete p.u’s at one race to see them through the rest of the season, like Mercedes did with Hamilton last year.
So is it better to take a series of five unit penalties across the rest of the season, or take more elements, and max out on penalties at a couple of races where they can try to fight their way up from the back of the field?

MIE

They need to time the new Power Units with any significant updates they have coming to improve either power output or reliability. In my opinion all the drivers currently using their fourth element will have to take at least one grid penalty, most likely two before end of the year. If the teams aren’t expecting any upgrades, they should pick a race where overtaking is possible (Monza rather than Hungary or Singapore). In related news Alonso fitted a new ICE, TC, MGU-H, and MGU-K before Free Practice three. This was his sixth ICE and MGU-K but eighth TC and MGU-H.… Read more »

jakobusvdl

I’d agree that if a car is on the fourth unit of anything by now, it will need one, or two more to get them through the season. Some of the Ferrari and Renault supplied p.u’s are on the fourth of more than one element. Over to the strategists to figure out the optimal time to introduce the changes. And it is a moving target, ensuring upgrades are available when required, and hoping nothing fails earlier than anticipated. For Ferrari that will be complicated by not wanting to take penalties at the Monza home race, or dropping too many points… Read more »

MIE

Because Ricciardo is starting from the back anyway thanks to the gearbox penalty, he can fit a new TC with no extra change in his start position. As he will need one at some point, now is the time to fit it.

jakobusvdl

I hadn’t picked up he had a gearbox penalty!
Looking on the positive side, l suppose, he really gets the gearbox and new turbo for free!
The turbo failure meant no quali time, so back of the grid. After that its just a game of top trumps with Alonso to see if its slot 21 or 22. He should have piled a few more new bits in.

MIE

Daniel Ricciardo did fit a new ICE, TC, MGU-H and MGU-K. It was his third MGU-K, his fourth ICE and MGU-H but his fifth TC. Only the TC attracted a penalty, but with fresh PU elements he was able to make good progress through the field. Christian Horner stated on Channel 4 that he had a power advantage over the Mercedes in the back of Ocon’s car (but that was on its fifth race). Perhaps there is sufficient drop off in performance over the life of these Power Units to more than make up the difference between the Mercedes and… Read more »

Salvu Borg

Daniel Ricciardo earned a 5 place grid penalty before FP3 for a gearbox change (stewards were told about gearbox change Friday evening). a new MGU-H got him another 10 place grid penalty during qualifying (5 + 10 = 15 grid place penalties). qualifying failure further pushed him to 19th place on starting grid. so those 15 grid place penalties didn’t effect his 19th starting place position on the grid.
Since 2008 season when spare (T) cars were banned all teams carry enough parts to build a spare car if need be.

jakobusvdl

That’s an interesting observation by Horner. A fresh Renault p.u. has more poke than a used Mercedes p.u. Ricciardo certainly put it to good use.
And we all scoffed when the FIA told us the output of the Mercedes, Renault and Ferrari p.u’s were now all within 3% (I think it was 3%).

But how much more poke does a Mercedes Mercedes p.u have than a F.I. Mercedes p.u?
Did you see how Bottas blasted past Perez early in the race, without DRS.

MIE

Bottas had a new PU, while the customers had units that were five races old.

Salvu Borg

Correct, a power unit output (tap) will be turned down with every race weekend undertaken, and that is the same for all PU makes. also apart from Bottas having a fresh PU, he also had fresher tyres.

Salvu Borg

For sometime now the FIA power unite element use reports have sort of dried-up. These reports which were free of charge and so not obligatory on the part of the FIA. These reports as I have stated before are just a small part of the FIA race weekend report of which a copy can be had against a payment. I might be wrong but I have the impression that what is being pushed out is that Ricciardo benefitted of sorts from being pushed to the back of the grid for qualifying failure and taking on most probably a complete engine/ICE… Read more »

MIE

The FIA reports are still being published free of charge on their website. It is only the one prior to the weekend in Austria that is missing.