Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas will start start Sunday’s Italian Grand Prix from the back of the grid after his team decided to install a number of fresh power unit elements into his W12.
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).
Red Bull drivers Sergio Perez and Max Verstappen have been long believed to be in a need of exceeding the allocation of power units after the Mexican had lost an engine in the Budapest incident caused by Bottas and the Dutchman had lost his second power unit in an high-speed crash at Silverstone that was triggered by Lewis Hamilton. Following his issues in qualifying for the Dutch Grand Prix, Perez received new power unit elements, which should see him complete the rest of the season without further issues.
At Zandvoort, Hamilton encountered oil system problem in the second practice and was forced to switch to his third power unit that was in his car for the first time at the previous event at Spa. Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff indicated this week that the defending champion might need a fourth engine later this season.
The Brackley-based outfit has not installed any new elements into Hamilton’s car yet, but it surprisingly decided to change a number of PU elements in his team mate’s car. Ahead of today’s qualifying, it was confirmed that Bottas took a fresh engine, turbocharger, MGU-H and MGU-K.
The Nastola-born driver grabbed the pole position for tomorrow’s sprint qualifying from Hamilton. His first starting position in Sunday’s F1 sprint will not be affected by the decision, but the change means that Bottas will start at Sunday's Italian Grand Prix from the back of the grid.