Maldonado faces engine change penalty

2011 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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Pastor Maldonado, Williams, Buddh International Circuit
Pastor Maldonado, Williams, Buddh International Circuit

Pastor Maldonado will start the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix with a ten-place grid penalty.

The Williams driver will use his ninth engine of the season in the next race, which carries an automatic penalty.

Williams chief operations engineer Mark Gillan said: “Pastor will use a ninth engine in Abu Dhabi, due to damage incurred following the gearbox failure in India, he will therefore incur a subsequent 10-place grid penalty.

Rubens [Barrichello] will use a new eighth engine.”

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    Author information

    Keith Collantine
    Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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    22 comments on “Maldonado faces engine change penalty”

    1. Is this the first time someone has been done in on the eight-engine rule since it was adjusted to give drivers eight engines to be used at any time throughout the season?

      1. No, I’m pretty sure Massa used a 9th engine last year… well, at least on driver did.

        1. I don’t remember that happening. It might have happened in 2009, when the rules stated that an engine had to last a certain number of races before it was changed, and an early change would earn a penalty, but I don’t recall anyone taking a penalty under the current rules.

          1. From the top of my head, I think it was de la Rosa/Heidfeld in Sauber last year. And perhaps an HRT.

            Not 100% though…

            1. @Enigma Yeah, I think you’re right. Was it Singapore? I remember Heidfeld being penalised when he took charge of De la Rosa’s car.

          2. Massa used a 9th engine in Singapore, where he’s qualified last anyway. Ferrari thought that they might as well use a ninth since they couldn’t lose anything on the grid.

      2. De La Rosa used a 9th engine last year and took a 10 place grid drop at the Belgian grand prix.

        Massa also used his 9th at the Singapore grand prix but qualified last, meaning his 10 place drop was nullified.

        1. @Crackers

          Ah – clever!

    2. This is why I think it would be good if the FIA were to release data on what engine is used by each driver during each session.

      I cannot think why it would be a bad idea, anyone?

      1. As the season goes on, teams and drivers regularly use different engines in different sessions. When Maldonado had an engine blow up in FP1, it was near the end of its life cycle; likewise Fernando Alonso’s. The teams usually use older engines for the first session on Friday to limit the stress placed on newer ones.

    3. I really think either the team, or the FOTA or FIA or FOM should start publishing information on how far they took their engines and which they are running (Hm, maybe something for the engine manufacturers to do?).

    4. FIA should update the number of Engine that is left for each driver after each race,I know some teams don’t want their rivals to know that but it’s the fan that pay,so for us they should look at it for 2012,I hope some high official take this note to Todt.

    5. What a ridiculously unfair rule this is! Why should the driver be punished because his engines and gearboxes have given up the ghost?

      1. Because there is nobody else to punish.

        1. @SempreGilles there’s always Lewis! Just you wait…

      2. Because he obviously didn’t take good enough care of them on the track.

      3. Because if they would not give penalties for it, what’s to keep teams from fitting a new engine whenever they want.

      4. Instead the engineers should be given twenty lashes with the F1 rule book :-D

      5. Because the idea is for team to use 8 per car….

        Without the rule they would be using a new one every race and qualifying session and turning them up higher….

        Or at least the teams with loads of money would be.

        1. Also, it is fair, because the rule is the same for every team/driver.

    6. Does anybody knows how many engines are used other drivers?
      Thakn you….

    7. I’d be surprised if most hadn’tl used all 8 engines by this point in the season as the planned allocation won’t simply involve using each engine for multiple races in a row until it is finished, they will plan around a combination of non-sequential races for each engine based on circuit characteristics. Also, they won’t want to finish the season with one or more ‘fresh’ engines as that would be an inefficient use of the permitted allocation.

      Having said that Keith did mention that Barrichello will use a new eighth engine in Abu Dhabi (and presumably the same one for Brazil) so perhaps some teams have built in some margin in case of early engine failure. The cancellation of Bahrain will also have left some spare engine headroom. The teams could have re-optimised the planned engine use, but as the Bahrain race wasn’t finally shelved until well into the season this would have limited their options.

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