Formula One returned to Germany after a year-long absence. Among others, the weekend has seen multiple power unit element changes, Daniel Ricciardo's grid drop and Stoffel Vandoorne's still ongoing technical gremlins.
Force India with 2019 front wing
At Hockenheim, the Force India team revealed that it will test a front wing during the post-Hungarian GP tests which complies with the 2019 aero regulation. The team intends to check on track what kind of an effect and loss next year's wings will pose.
Next year will see a complete overhaul for the front wings. It will be simpler with the elimination of various cascade wings, the number of slots will also be limited and its length will increase from 1,8m to 2,0m. Since the front wing is the first part of the car which meets the airflows it is critical to invest heavily into its developments.
Force India will debut the first version of its 2019 at the Hungaroring after the Hungarian GP along with new brake ducts which will also undergo some redesign.
New gearboxes for the German GP
Four drivers started the weekend with a fresh gearbox. Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas and Force India driver Esteban Ocon were given the green light for changing their gearboxes after both of them completed six consecutive event with the same unit.
Max Verstappen and Marcus Ericsson also got a new gearbox installed. Neither of them finished the British GP which also permits a free change.
New PU elements
A number of different power unit elements were changed in the cars for this weekend. A new MGU-K was installed to the car of Sebastian Vettel, Kimi Räikkönen, Daniel Ricciardo, Romain Grosjean, Kevin Magnussen, Marcus Ericsson and Charles Leclerc.
As a reminder: drivers are allowed to use up to two MGU-K units during the season and the fact that all six Ferrari-powered drivers got a new unit shows that it was part of the planning of the Italian engine manufacturer to change it at the eleventh round of the 2018 championship. They may use their first unit in the practice sessions to save mileage on their new one.
A new energy store was mounted in the car of both Ferrari and Red Bull drivers. Daniel Ricciardo’s control electronics was also changed for a new unit.
Grid-drop penalty for Ricciardo
This year's power unit regulation limited the numer of MGU-K, energy store and control electronics in two units. After early KERS-woes for Daniel Ricciardo, the Renault engineers and Red Bull decided to install fresh units in the Australian’s car for the German Grand Prix weekend.
The timing of the change was based on the fact that Red Bull wanted to have fresh, healthy parts for the Hungarian GP weekend as the team expects its car to excel on the tight sections of the Hungaroring.
After the changes, Ricciardo is set to start the German GP from the last grid position.
McLaren broke the curfew
Personnel of the McLaren F1 Team who were associated with the operation of the car were within the confinces of the circuit during the eight hour period which commenced at 01:00 on 21 July and ended at 9:00 on 21 July. This was the first of the two individual exceptions permitted for the McLaren F1 Team during the 2018 Formula One Championship season and therefore no action should be taken.
The McLaren mechanics were working on Stoffel Vandoorne’s car after the Belgian driver experienced another woeful running on Friday. The former GP2 champion was dogged by technical issues at the previous round in Silverstone where the team was unable to identify the root cause of the problem. As Vandoorne continued to struggle during the Friday practice sessions in Hockenheim, the team decided to change a series of parts on his car.