Formula One’s dominant force Mercedes were dogged with reliabilty problems in Austria after it had to cure a few reliability issues during the last race weekends.
After having needed to fix technical problems of different natures, Mercedes once again found itself in a small drama before the first free practice session on Friday. The team discovered an oil leak on Valtteri Bottas second-specification power unit, forcing the mechanics to revert to the first engine which the Finn completed six races with.
This issue was the latest one of the niggling issues which the Anglo-German outfit had to solve in recent times. In Montreal, Lewis Hamilton experienced a late drama before the race after his team discovered a hydraulic leak in which the mechanics could only fix totally on the starting grid. A sensor problem appeared on the Briton’s car in Paul Ricard ahead of the qualifying session just a week ago, but the team could find a remedy for that in time, as well.
Mercedes’ customer team also experienced various technical gremlins. In Montreal, Lance Stroll suffered a pretty big failure on his second-spec Mercedes power unit during practice. The engine supplier found later out that the problem was down to an issue related to the spark plug. In France, a problem of different nature was discovered on the Williams of George Russell, forcing the team to replace his energy store and control electronics.
Sainz with new gearbox
McLaren’s Carlos Sainz started this race weekend with a new gearbox. The Spaniard used his previous one for six consecutive weekends with the Sporting Regulation allowing a penalty-free change.
Fresh engine components
Several drivers started the Austrian Grand Prix weekend with fresh engine parts. Carlos Sainz and Alexander Albon both received a new Renault internal combustion engine. As both of them have already used three ICEs which is the maximum allowed during a season, they will get a grid-drop penalty for Sunday’s race. Both the Spaniard and the Thai-British drivers got a fresh turbocharger, MGU-H, and MGU-K for this event, as well. Sainz also received a new energy store and control electronics, meaning that the Spaniard started the weekend with a completely fresh Renault power unit.
The only driver other than the two mentioned to use a new PU part is Valtteri Bottas. The Finn got a new motor-generator unit-kinetic. As this is only his second one, the change is in conformity with the Sporting Regulation and triggers no penalty.