It is probably safe to say that no teams or engine suppliers will be looking forward to the 2018 season. The FIA recently announced that even tougher engine penalties will be in force for the upcoming season. After being brought down from 4, the drivers are permitted to use only 2 engine components. The only units this rule applies to are the MGU-K, energy store and control electronics.
However, the drivers are allowed 3 units of the internal combustion engine, turbocharger and MGU-H. All these units will have to last at least 11 (2 units) races and 7 races (3 units).
McLaren-Honda’s Stoffel Vandoorne has used at least ten examples of some power unit parts during the last 14 races. Also, at least eight drivers, namely the entire Honda and Renault powered teams have exceeded their ceiling of 4 examples on at least one power unit.
How Many Penalties!?!?!
At Monza, the FIA handed out a total of 150 grid place penalties. Majority of these penalties were related to power unit changes. It was the second-highest quantity of penalties ever dished out by the stewards. Incidentally, the highest quantity of penalties given out was 168 grid place penalties, also at Monza, in 2015.
Breaking down the distribution, Fernando Alonso had a 10-place grid penalty for power unit component change. Daniil Kvyat had a 35-place penalty for power unit components change and gearbox change. A 50-place penalty for power unit components change awaited Daniel Ricciardo. Carlos Sainz Jr had a 35-place penalty for power unit components change. A Five-place penalty was in store for Jenson Button for power unit component change. Max Verstappen had a 30-place penalty for power unit component changes and missing engine seals. However, he failed to qualify within 107% time in Q1. But the stewards’ discretion meant that he was allowed to start the race. Finally Marcus Ericsson had a three-place grid penalty for impeding another driver.
There have been numerous calls to scrap the multiple grid penalties for individual parts. Fans have also suggested implementing financial penalties for the teams. They feel that the driver shouldn’t punished for reasons that are beyond his control. Although on paper it seems that Renault and Honda may be the worst affected, i doubt that Ferrari and Mercedes are in the clear either.
So will we continue to hear more screams of “No Power” from Fernando Alonso? Or will it come from the Toro Rosso drivers? Stay tuned until March 2018 to find out