Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren, Sochi Autodrom, 2017

Vandoorne to get first power unit change penalty

2017 Russian Grand Prix

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Stoffel Vandoorne will become the first driver this year to receive a penalty for changing parts of his power unit.

Sergey Sirotkin, Renault, Sochi Autodrom, 2017
Russian Grand Prix practice in pictures
The McLaren driver will take his fifth Honda turbocharger and MGU-H this weekend. Drivers are allowed to use a maximum of four during the season without a penalty.

Vandoorne will therefore receive a ten-place and a five-place grid penalty, moving him back a total of 15 places on the grid. “It was really only a matter of time before we got a penalty since the start of the season has been tough for us,” he said.

“Today was a tough day but you have to try your best to move on from it. There’s nothing much we can do about the situation we’re in at the moment. Still, let’s hope some improvements will come soon.”

Fernando Alonso is also on his third turbocharger and MGU-H in the team’s other car.

Ferrari pair Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen are also nearing the point at which they may incur penalties. Both have started using their third turbochargers this weekend.

Engine component use after 2017 Russian Grand Prix  first practice
Engine component use after 2017 Russian Grand Prix first practice

2017 Russian Grand Prix

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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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  • 26 comments on “Vandoorne to get first power unit change penalty”

    1. Only 4 races in and 7 teams have to take a 3rd component. Ideally this should be race 11. I can see it now, Mercedes is winning the WDC and WCC based on engine reliability.

      1. Yes, that is probably true. The rules of this series are specifically set up to encourage that scenario.

      2. Yep, just realized that. The six cars with a Mercedes engine are at the top (bottom) of the reliability chart by miles. I guess the media is ignoring that fact to make it seem like the championship is very tied. Unfortunately, that chart strongly suggests that the championship is over by race 3.

    2. I think McLaren-Honda should replace the power units in their cars every single race. Take the penalty, turn the power to 11, and let’s see what happens. :)

      1. They used 4 turbos and MGU-Hs in 3 race weekends plus 1 training day without turning the power higher than it is. Currently it seems even when they put a new power unit in directly before the race, they need to be lucky to just finish. It is worse than in 2014, as they seem to be working hard to exceed the negative expectations of even the most pessimistic naysaysers.

        1. It is really tragic then.

      2. As it currently stands, the best thing they could do to be competitive is to completely replace the power units with a collection of bits they found in a skip behind the Mercedes garage….

    3. feelsbadman

      Seeing all Mercs at the bottom of the tables shows how much ahead they actually are going to be while going thru the season.

    4. Embarrassing…. not just for McLaren and Honda but for F1 and the FIA.

      Several years in and the “best engineers in the world” still can’t make threes overly complicated engines reliable.

      Also, interesting how the Merc is much more reliable than the others and yet according to Mercedes and Perez, it’s no better than the Renault!!! :D That’s the difference between having to run things at 100% or having the option to be competitive at 95% (only using 100% for Mercedes quali runs)

      1. @petebaldwin Completely untrue – the level of reliability over the last few seasons has been generally remarkable and even in the first races of 2014 most people were surprised by the levels of reliability straight from the off with the new engine regs. As the above table shows, the best engineers in the world have managed to produce an engine which is coming up for its fourth race. The next best engineers in the world aren’t fare behind. Reliability is always a compromise against performance – we’ve seen a resurgence in performance from Ferrari but perhaps we will see rising unreliability along with it.

    5. We haven’t even started the fourth race of the season and already they have used one too many turbo’s and MGU-H’s. Most impressive.

    6. No!!! Please STOP! It’s already dead!

      1. I just can’t read this news anymore. It makes me sick. Just stop this suffering.

    7. I think your gonna need some new colours in your chart if Honda are already on five MGU-Hs.

      1. COTD, sadly.

      2. As the Rolling Stones sang, “Paint it Black”

    8. At an average rate of one of each per race weekend per car, McLaren can expect turbocharger and MGU-H replacements alone to cost McLaren, between both drivers, 330 grid places

    9. Mercedes are a mile in front with reliability. Ferrari may be as fast but it looks like they may pay down the rd with penalties.

    10. In FP2, for the first time this season Stoffel openly expressed his frustration with Honda. Just like Alonso in Bahrain, Stoffel complained about the Force India coming from a long way back and overtake him. Stoffel’s talent is wasted just as much as Alonso’s is, the difference being that Stoffel is a rookie and may or may not get another season in Formula 1.

      1. Don’t worry about that, he will stay, he’s already proven his quality abundantly. It’s not that bad for him, this was going to be a learning season for him anyway. He can afford to relax and take it easy.

    11. For all the drivers who dream of driving in Formula I wonder if they are completely gutted when they hear they would have to drive for McLaren (2017) or in the past teams like HRT and Caterham. It must suck knowing your only chance at Formula 1 is driving a car that can’t even finish a race or at best comes dead last every race that it does manage to finish.

    12. Glass half full…Vandoorne is first!

    13. At the rate McLaren are going, I won’t be surprised if one of them has to start the Abu Dhabi race from Dubai.

      1. @loup-garou worse still, they might get sent even further back, to Bahrain

    14. It’s only Friday, given they still have FP3 and Qualifying to go there’s a fair chance they’ll have to replace more PU components……

      The big question for 2017 is will they be the first team to crack the 100 place penalty mark in a single race :)

    15. These engines are far too complicated, it’s going to be annoying being deprived of close racing between vettel and Hamilton later in the season due to penalties for replacing components.

    Comments are closed.