Power Unit Use – Update before USA

Once again the FIA issued their report into the power unit elements used during the season to date on the Thursday prior to the race in Suzuka:


No update power units were forecast for use this weekend, and prior to free practice starting on the Friday the following new elements were fitted:

Internal Combustion Engine – ICE Three drivers fitted their fifth and final penalty free ICE:

  • Kimi Räikkönen;
  • Kevin Magnussen;
  • Daniil Kvyat.

With only five races to run including Japan, these should last until the end of the season without issues.

Turbo Charger – TC   Kevin Magnussen fitted his fifth TC.  As for the ICE this should see him unitl the end of the year.

Motor Generator Unit – Heat – MGU-H  Kevin Magnussen was the only driver to have fitted a new MGU-H, his fifth.

Motor Generator Unit – Kinetic – MGU-K Five drivers fitted a new MGU-K, for the first it was his fifth unit, for the rest, only their fourth item:

  • Kevin Magnussen;
  • Daniil Kvyat;
  • Carlos Sainz;
  • Felipe Nasr;
  • Esteban Gutierrez.

Energy Store – ES Six drivers took the opportunity to fit a new ES, for the top two it was their fifth and last, for the remaining four it was only their fourth:

  • Lewis Hamilton;
  • Kimi Räikkönen;
  • Daniil Kvyat;
  • Marcus Ericsson;
  • Romain Grosjean;
  • Esteban Gutierrez.

None of these drivers should have difficulty in getting penalties before the end of the year.

Prior to free practice on Saturday, Carlos Sainz  fitted his fifth ES and CE.  Again this shouldn’t cause any issue.

After a poor qualifying, Jenson Button decided to fit a complete sixth power unit (ICE, TC, MGU-H, MGU-K, ES and CE).  This gave him the same specification as Fernando Alonso (who fitted his in Malaysia), and meant that the grid penalties affected a race where he had already qualified badly, rather than the next event in Austin.

Due to Lewis Hamilton’s ICE failing in Malaysia, all the Mercedes drivers stayed with their older power units while the failure was investigated.  This means that for five of the Mercedes customer drivers they have still only used three complete power units (Ocon fitted his fourth ICE, TC, MGU-H and MGU-K in Malaysia).  In comparison Rosberg is expected to fit his fifth in Austin, while the customer drivers fit their fourth.

For those readers saying that Hamilton has been affected by the reliability issues he has suffered, and so has not completed the laps in free practice, this is a table showing the total distance covered over the race weekends by each car this season (in kilometres):


This takes into account the distance covered by Friday test drivers (as they also put mileage on the power units).  While Hamilton has covered a lower distance than most of the Mercedes drivers, he has been able to run far more reliably than all the Ferrari Powered cars and all Renault’s bar Daniel Ricciardo. This really shows the difficulties that Romain Grosjean is having with the Haas.

With the Mercedes customers (Valtteri Bottas, Sergio Pérez, Nico Hülkenberg, Felipe Massa and Pascal Wehrlein) only using three power units to date, compared to four for Nico Rosberg, this means that while Bottas has made each of his power units last an incredible 4425km, even Wehrlein has made his last longer than Rosberg (3830km compared to 3298km average).  While at the other end of the scale, Fernando Alonso has used nine TC and MGU-H at an average of less than 1240km each.

New power units are expected for the Mercedes drivers (except Hamilton and Ocon) next time out, the manufacturer has some tokens left to spend, and if they do bring an update it may mean more penalties for Hamilton (or racing with a lower specification power unit).  Other than that I expect to see penalties for Räikkönen (TC, MGU-H and MGU-K), Ericsson, Grosjean and Gutierrez (TC) and I still have a nagging doubt about Verstappen’s CE which has been in the car since Baku.  I know the grid penalties are not popular, but they are the current rules, and teams choosing to bring upgrades at inopportune moments (like Ferrari) will lead to avoidable penalties later in the season.

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Thanks again MIE. I believe both RBR drivers will get a new ICE (and possibly other components) for next week’s race.


I believe you are correct. The reliability of the Renault is much improved this year.