This weekend’s German Grand Prix marks the halfway point of the 2019 FIA Formula One Championship. Due to the strict Sporting Regulation, teams have to plan carefully already ahead of the season-opener how they approach the season in terms of the power unit components, also taking their development programme into account.
For Hockenheim, Ferrari made the decision to install a new electronic store in to the car of Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc. As no more than two units can be used per driver during the entire season, this change means that Vettel and Leclerc have to complete the remainder of the championship with the fresh electronic store. Of course, they are also allowed to use their old one which they may do regularly in the Friday practice session to save mileage on the second unit.
With the exception of Vettel, five of the six Ferrari-powered car were fitted with a new motor generator unit – kinetics. As Leclerc, Romain Grosjean, Kevin Magnussen, Kimi Räikkönen and Antonio Giovinazzi have all used only one unit so far this season, the change was in conformity with the Sporting Regulation. Vettel has been already using his second MGU-K, meaning that he has to cover the remaining eleven races with their two used units if he intends to avoid a grid-drop penalty.
The hybrid power units consist of six different elements. All six Ferrari-powered cars can still introduce a fresh internal combustion engine, a turbocharger and a motor generator unit – heat. It also indicates that Ferrari’s last engine development, the third-specification 2019 power unit which is expected to make its debut at Spa or at Monza revolves around these three PU components. It is no wonder though as changes to these elements provide with the biggest performance gain in the hybrid era.
Two drivers with fresh gearbox
Pierre Gasly and Romain Grosjean are the only two drivers to have started the German Grand Prix weekend with a fresh gearbox. The Red Bull driver was free to use a fresh unit as his previous gearbox completed six consecutive events.
The Haas driver did not finish the previous race meeting at Silverstone, allowing him to use a fresh gearbox at Hockenheim which the Genf-born man happily took.
Additional set of tyres
Based on the weather forecast from the official weather service provider, FIA’s Race Director Michael Masi confirmed that one additional set of intermediate tyres will be made available to each driver before the third free practice session kicks off. Drivers normally have four sets of intermediate tyres for the entire race weekend.
Extensive tyre work
For the German Grand Prix, the sport’s tyre supplier Pirelli brought the trio of C2, C3 and C4 compounds, the three options of the middle section of its 2019 range. The C2 and C3 compounds are the mandatory race tyres, meaning that teams need to have at least one set of those two compounds available for Sunday’s race. One set of C4 has to be saved up for the last segment of the qualifying session.
Pirelli mandated relatively high minimum starting pressures for its dry weather tyres again. The front slick tyres must have a minimum starting pressure of 23.5 psi while the rears 19.5. According to the Italian company, the blistering sensitivity of both the front and rear tyres are medium at the Hockenheimring.
On Friday, most of the teams conducted extensive testing on all compounds, enabling them to have a clear picture how the tyres perform around the 4.5km-long Hockenheimring.