Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Spa-Francorchamps, 2017

Hamilton and Bottas make last penalty-free power unit changes

2017 Belgian Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas will receive grid penalties if they use any more new engines, turbos or MGU-Hs before the end of the season.

The Mercedes drivers are both using new internal combustion engines (ICEs), turbos and MGU-Hs for this weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix which are their fourth of the year. Drivers receive ten-place grid penalties the first time they use the fifth example of a new power unit components.

Both Haas drivers have also taken their fourth engines this weekend. Stoffel Vandoorne has used his fifth engine which is part of a complete new power unit the McLaren driver will use at his home race, meaning he will take a 35-place grid penalty. He is also using his eighth turbocharger, eighth MGU-H, fifth MGU-K, sixth energy store and sixth control electronics.

Ferrari drivers Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen have already begun using their fourth turbochargers but unlike the Mercedes drivers they have not yet used their fourth engines or MGU-Hs.

Power unit component use by driver

2017 Belgian 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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  • 17 comments on “Hamilton and Bottas make last penalty-free power unit changes”

    1. Well i guess both teams will have to take engine penalties at 1 point which evens thing out i guess. Imagine a weekend where both ferraris & both mercedes start on the two last rows!! What a race that would be!

      1. Sundar Srinivas Harish
        25th August 2017, 12:34

        It’s interesting that the Merc customer teams are on-target with their power unit component consumption, while the constructors themselves are not.

        Also, the fact that Ricciardo, despite having more finishes that Verstappen, has used more components shows that Red Bull’s criticism of Renault is somewhat unfounded – a good part of their shortcomings can be pinned on their early-stage chassis and various chassis-side failures – and this chart proves it.

        1. i’m thinking they’re using the new engines for the power circuits of spa and Monza, to maximise straight line speed, then rotating the other 4 engines for the remaining 7 races.

          1. @emu55, exactly – it is a similar tactic to previous years, where teams would normally try to save an engine for Spa and Monza (the tracks with the highest engine wear demands), which would then normally be used for practise sessions and at the slower venues (e.g. Singapore) later in the year, whilst cycling other engines for use later in the year.

            Ferrari might be regretting the decision to use most of their engines earlier in the year, since it means they don’t have a fresh unit now (though they probably accepted at the time that they’d take an advantage then but sacrifice that advantage later). Out of the two, I think that Ferrari is possibly more marginal on component lifespan, particularly since there were rumours in the Italian press suggesting that, when dyno tested, there were a few reliability problems with higher mileage units in the winter months.

        2. You say that Ricciardo having used more components than Verstappen somehow shoes that RB criticism of Renault is unfounded??? How does Ricciardo’s high use of components prove that RB’s criticism of Renault is unfounded? Surely it proves the opposite?

          Ricciardo has done way more laps than Verstappen, so it goes without saying that his engine usage would reflect that. Also, he has actually had more engine troubles than Verstappen this year even though Verstappen has done less laps. A lot of Verstappens lack of laps is due to crash damage.

          1. A lot of Verstappens lack of laps is due to crash damage.

            This is patently a lie. Please don’t make up stats.

            1. @offdutyrockstar, at the end of the summer break, Ricciardo has, I believe, completed 530 laps as opposed to 398 for Verstappen.

              Now, the maximum number of laps that any driver could have covered so far this season is 679 laps. If we compare both Ricciardo and Verstappen with that total, Ricciardo lost 32 laps in Australia due to a fuel feed issue and 47 in Russia with his rear brake failure, with the remaining 70 lost due to the clash with Verstappen in Hungary. That makes it a total of 79 racing laps lost due to mechanical failures, and 70 due to a collision on track.

              Verstappen lost a total of 46 laps in Bahrain with his rear brake failure, 66 in Spain with the clash with Kimi and Bottas, 60 in Canada after an electrical failure, 39 in Baku with his loss of oil pressure and 71 in Austria after the pile up caused by Kvyat. That comes to a total of 145 laps lost due to mechanical issues and 137 due to collisions on track.

              Percentage wise, the split is actually surprisingly close for both drivers – 53% of Ricciardo’s lost laps were due to mechanical issues, whilst for Verstappen that comes to 51% – though it is true that, in total, Verstappen has lost about twice as much mileage as Ricciardo due to both mechanical and accident damage.

              Overall, they are probably not that dissimilar in terms of failures – it’s just that Ricciardo has been slightly fortunate that a higher proportion of his failures have tended to be in other sessions (such as his turbocharger failure in qualifying for the British GP), whereas Verstappen has had slightly more happen to fall in the races themselves instead of those other sessions.

            2. A lot of Verstappens lack of laps is due to crash damage.

              This is patently a lie. Please don’t make up stats.

              I’d say 49% of Verstappen’s lost laps are due to crash damage, is “a lot”.

    2. Sundar Srinivas Harish
      25th August 2017, 12:28

      At least McLaren-Honda is topping some kind of chart.

    3. I guess that’s nothing strange, teams normally try to put a new engine on power circuits such as Spa and Monza. I’m sure they’ll reuse their older components elsewhere.

    4. Looking at the chart one has to wonder if there are enough colours available to accommodate Hondas needs

      1. The fifth components should be red as it was a mark of penalties. McLaren should be passing violet now and about to turn blue. By the end of 2017 calendar they’ll be the only team back to yellow :D

    5. I think that Merc are assuming (or already know) that the FIA will approve 1 extra engine this year. The FIA did it a couple of years ago. The way that chart looks, 75% of the drivers are going to take a penalty this year. That isn’t a good look, so I bet the FIA approve an extra engine this year to save face.

      1. The additional power unit is only available if the racing calendar goes above 20 races iirc.

    6. looks like merc taking the engines before the new oil burning regs come in italy

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