Daniel Ricciardo, Renault, Shanghai International Circuit, 2019

Ferrari and Renault drivers edge towards penalties after taking new power unit parts

2019 Chinese Grand Prix

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Ferrari and Renault have fitted new power unit parts to several of the cars using their hardware at the third round of the championship.

Charles Leclerc, who lost a likely win in the previous race when a short circuit in his Ferrari power unit slowed him by up to six seconds a lap, continued to use his repaired hardware in the first practice session at the Shanghai International Circuit. However Ferrari has replaced the control electronics on his car, as well as that of his team mate and both Ferrari-powered Haas cars.

Drivers may only use up to two sets of control electronics per season without incurring grid penalties, meaning all four drivers will be penalised if their electronics are replaced again this year.

The Alfa Romeo drivers, who also use Ferrari’s power unit, do not have fresh control electronics fitted. Antonio Giovinazzi was unable to set a time in the first practice session due to a technical problem.

Three of the four Renault-powered drivers have had new MGU-Ks fitted. These are of a new specification following the problems the reliability team has experienced since the start of the season. McLaren’s Carlos Sainz Jnr is still using the MGU-K which was fitted to his car in Bahrain.

Nico Hulkenberg, who lost sixth place in Bahrain when his power unit failed at the end of the race, also has a new engine, turbo-charger and MGU-H this weekend.

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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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8 comments on “Ferrari and Renault drivers edge towards penalties after taking new power unit parts”

  1. I guess there was some truth to the rumours of Ferrari power unit issues that have been cropping up since Australia.
    Renault… man… they can never quite deliver can they?

    1. @todfod
      Wonder whats really hampering their progress as far as reliability is concerned.
      Technical incompetence? lack of resources? or it is just plain oversight?
      I thought Williams being unable to get ready in time for testing in Barcelona and their performances in races was the going to be most disappointing + embarrassing issue this year but seems like Renault, being the giants they are, are slowly sinking into deeper waters with such repetitive issues.

      1. @webtel

        If I had to guess… I think Ferrari realised that a car as good as Mercedes won’t win them the title, instead they need a car far superior to Mercedes to seal the deal. They’ve just pushed the boundaries on engine development and packaging slightly beyond the limit, and they’re now dealing with the consequences.

        I still think they’ll have the fastest car once they’ve gotten over their reliability concerns, but I’m not surprised that their increased performance has come at a cost.

        Regarding Renault, I don’t think you can take any of their statements about progress seriously. They haven’t made any real progress since 2016. They’re pretty much in the same place they were in 2017 and 2018 in terms of performance and development. Such a shame…

        1. @todfod
          My comment was only about Renault’s reliability :-P
          Nevertheless, i guess it also applies to Ferrari at this stage and i agree that the increase in performance has come at a cost; hopefully not too expensive. Wouldn’t want to see them jeopardizing their Championship hopes.

          And i can feel sorry for Williams, but shame is the only word that renault would be worthy of if such incidents continue.
          On a positive note, its good to see four Renault cars in the top 10 at the end of FP2.

    2. Even today one of the Red cars developed cooling problem and had to be pulled out of FP2 sooner than expected.

  2. I wouldn’t be surprised if at the end of the season the drivers driving Renault-powered cars would be on the top of the list of most grid-penalties taken for PU element changes.

  3. Interesting developments…

    Also – Honda has replaced an engine in Kvyat’s car in-between test-sessions.

  4. @keithcollantine: Could you post the table with the number of PU parts used for each driver? It’s always a very good visual reference.

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