Yesterday the FIA issued their report into the updated number of Power Unit (PU) components drivers had used up until that point. This showed the first time that a driver had exceeded five of any of the components during the season. Daniil Kvyat’s use of a sixth Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) gave him a ten place grid penalty in Italy. As he was sixth fastest in qualifying at Monza, he doesn’t carry any of that penalty over until this race.
Going through the components in turn we can try and identify those drivers that may be introuble for component life.
For the ICE the following drivers have used their current ICE for the past four events: Ricciardo; Grosjean; Maldonado and Erricsson. This will possibly be the last time they can use this unit before it needs changing (to make the five units last for the nineteen race season then they would each need to last for nearly four race meetings). However Vergne hasn’t had a new ICE since Silverstone, and so he has already used his fourth unit for five events, and it must be due for a change soon if it is to remain at all competitive. Interestingly both works Ferrari drivers had new ICE fitted for both Spa and Monza, so presumably they will be using these two units for the rest of the season (if they can).
When it comes to TC, Vettel and Kvyat have been on number four since Canada, so this must be hurting their performance as using the same TC for seven race weekends and going into an eighth cannot be good.
Both Alonso and Räikkönen had been using the same MGU-K since Spain, so it is no surprise to read today that along with the other Ferrari users they have fitted new MGU-K’s this weekend. This puts both Suaber and both Marussia drivers on five MGU-K’s each. Four drivers (Vettel, Kvyat, Chilton and Ericsson) have the longest use of their current units last changed at Silverstone, so used for five races so far.
MGU-H’s seem to be slightly longer lasting, Ricciardo has been using his third unit since Monaco (eight races), the Ferrari team has been using theirs since Canada (six races) and Vettel has been using his since Austria (five races). So far no-one has fitted a new unit for this weekend.
The ES is the most reliable PU component, no driver having yet used their fifth and Massa only unwrapping his third this weekend. I don’t see this item causing any penalties this season.
As discussed last time the CE is broken down into different sub-components. Many drivers have put new sub-components of the CE in the car today. This is detailed in the FIA document 6 but my main concern for this weekend is potential Electro-Magnetic Interference from the tram rails that are imbedded in the track at certain points on the circuit. In previous years this has caused issues for some teams, with the ECU switching modes unexpectedly. As this is a unique problem to Singapore, and the CE is so much more complex this year, I wonder if any team will experience any difficulty.
Overall, the favourite to get a penalty this weekend is Kvyat with his MGU-K being five races old, closely followed by Maldonado with four race old ICE, TC, MGU-K and MGU-H.