Power unit usage before the end of the season

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F1 Grand Prix, GP Brazil, Autódromo José Carlos Pace, Interlagosbr

The 2017 Formula 1 Championship season is slowly coming to its end, so is the power unit allocation of every driver. Some drivers have already exceeded the permitted amount of power unit parts, the McLaren-Honda team stands out with its extremely high number of elements.

Rules reminder

The power unit is deemed to consist of six separate elements: the internal combustion engine (ICE), the motor generator unit-kinetic (MGU-K), the motor generator unit-heat (MGU-H), the energy store (ES), turbocharger (TC) and control electronics (CE).

Each driver is allowed to use only four of each of the above six elements during a season and any combination of them may be fitted to a car at any one time. If a driver is forced to use more than the permitted number of elements, a grid penalty will be imposed.

The penalties imposed for using additional elements work thus: the first time a fifth of any of the elements is used, a ten-place grid penalty will be imposed. A five-place grid penalty will then be imposed the first time a fifth of any of the remaining elements is used. If the driver uses the sixth any of elements, he will be handed a ten-place penalty. A five-place grid penalty is imposed for the first time a further fifth of any of the remaining elements is used.
Mercedes is the most reliable

Turbochargers and MGU-H are the most critical parts

McLaren-Honda drivers Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne stand out with their usage. Both drivers exceed their allocation in every power unit component. The most critical parts Sebastian Vettel was also on the verge of penalties after the German driver has issues with his turbochargers in the early part of the season. However, Ferrari installed a fifth internal combustion engine, turbocharger and MGU-H after the dismal Malaysian qualifying session as the German was to start the GP from the back of the grid following engine woes in the all-important Saturday session.

Mercedes customer teams Force India and Williams stand out with their economic usage of power units. The two teams made benefit of the incredible reliability of the Mercedes configuration. Lance Stroll and Sergio Perez have only used two units of the electronic store and control electronics unit.

The actual stance of engine components indicates that Mercedes leads the pack of the four current engine manufacturers not only in terms of raw engine performance, but also regarding the reliability. Ferrari and Renault have to make great strides with the reliability of their turbocharger and MGU-H units while Honda have to iron out a long list of technical gremlins on its 2018 configuration.

After the engine woes of Renault during the previous Mexican Grand Prix, Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo and Toro Rosso driver Brandon Hartley are believed to have lost some of their fresh power unit components. It may force them to introduce new ones which will trigger grid penalties in the forthcoming race in Brazil.