Perez set to start with fresh engine, Mercedes with PU concerns

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F1 Grand Prix, GP Netherlands, Circuit Park Zandvoortnl

The Belgian Grand Prix saw eleven drivers compete with a fresh internal combustion engine as they were trying to maximize the benefits of a fresh unit on the power sensitive Spa-Francorchamps circuit. At the middle station of the season’s second triple-header only four drivers will race with a fresh engine.

Despite the planned 22-race calendar for 2021, drivers have a very limited number of engine components for the entire season. Should a driver exceed the limits, grid penalties will apply with the allocation being determined as follows: engines (ICE) (three per season), motor generator units-heat (MGU-H) (three), turbochargers (TC) (three), energy stores (ES) (two), control electronics (CE) (two), and motor generator units-kinetic (MGU-K) (three).

Four Ferrari-powered cars, the Alfa Romeos of Kimi Räikkönen and Antonio Giovinazzi and the Haas machines of Nikita Mazepin and Mick Schumacher have been equipped with a fresh internal combustion engine. All four drivers have used two ICEs so far with this change bringing their third and final engine into their pool. Currently they look to be in a safe position as the engine allocation for the rest of the season is concerned.

The four drivers mentioned above will also have a new turbocharger and MGU-H at Zandvoort. AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda has also received a new TC and MGU-H for this weekend.

Seven drivers will race today with a new exhaust syetem with Lando Norris, Sebastian Vettel, Carlos Sainz, Nikita Mazepin, Mick Schumacher, Sergio Perez, Fernando Alonso and Pierre Gasly having received a fresh EX for the 31st Dutch Grand Prix.

Although it was not planned, but Sergio Perez will also race today with a fresh engine today. The Mexican failed to get round at the end of the first qualifying segment yesterday after he was unable to start his last fyling lap in time. As a result of it, he finished the session down in P16th with only four cars behind him.

As Perez was always going to serve a grid drop penalty for a fourth engine following Valtteri Bottas’ overambitious manoeuvre at the Hungarian Grand Prix, Red Bull Racing opted to take a new Honda power unit. Ideally, the Guadalajara-born driver would have taken the new engine at a place where overtaking is easier as it is at a premium at the tight, flowing Zandvoort circuit, but it was clearly the best tactical approach for Red Bull as Perez will have two relatively fresh engines for the remainder of the season.

The team is yet to confirm which parts of the power unit it will change for Perez, but it is understood that the Mexican will also get a new gearbox as the five-place grid drop will not affect further his starting position.

Furthermore, it is also believed that all eight Mercedes-power cars will race with the freshest engine available today. This is a precautionary measure after Lewis Hamilton encountered oil system issues in Free Practice 2 on Friday which side-lined the Briton after only three laps completed.

As far as the gearboxes are concerned, eleven drivers will compete at today’s 31st Dutch Grand Prix with a fresh unit. Lewis Hamilton, Daniel Ricciardo, Lance Stroll, Fernando Alonso, Esteban Ocon, Carlos Sainz, Kimi Räikkönen, Antonio Giovinazzi, George Russell and Nicholas Latifi used their previous gearbox for six consecutive events, which has made it possible for them to use a fresh gearbox at Round 12 of the 2021 F1 season.

McLaren’s Lando Norris had to replace his previous gearbox at last weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix for a spare gearbox and this was before the six consecutive events expired. Therefore he may use a new gearbox at Zandvoort.