Championship rivals Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen will complete the Austrian Grand Prix with a fresh gearbox while many other drivers opted for fresh power unit elements.F1Technical's Balázs Szabó assesses the changes from the already fully-packed Red Bull Ring.
Formula One has changed the rules regarding how drivers can use gearboxes throughout the season. The 2022 rules split the gearboxes into two parts: casing & cassette and the internal components.
The new rules enforce a four casing and cassette limit on the cars taking part in the championship and the same numerical limit will be imposed on the components within the gearbox cassette itself.
This means that every driver is only permitted four 'gearboxes' for the season, and can pick and choose from that pool of four to get through the season. Like the power unit rules, once a driver requires more than four casings or internal components, a five-place penalty will be imposed.
For the Austrian Grand Prix, Max Verstappen, Charles Leclerc, Valtteri Bottas and Zhou Guanyu have received new gearbox casing. For the Dutchman and the Monegasque, it is the third casing, meaning that they are still on plan to complete the season without a penalty. However, the two Alfa Romeo drivers have received their fourth casing which puts them in danger with eleven races left after the Red Bull Ring.
Verstappen, Leclerc and Bottas have also received fresh internal components with this being the third for each of them.
Since the introduction of the hybrid power units back in 2014, the amount of used F1 power unit elements that are allowed to each car during the season has been limited. The sporting regulations have been tweaked over the last years regarding the amount of parts drivers are permitted to use during a season.
Since last year, the power units consists of seven parts: internal combustion engine, turbocharger, motor generator unit – heat, motor generator unit – kinetic, energy store, control electronics with the exhaust system having been added to this list last year.
During the current season drivers are allowed to use 3 ICE, 3 TC, 3 MGU-H, 3 MGU-K, 2 ES, 2 CE and 8 EX without penalty. When the use exceeds these amounts of power unit elements the driver of that car will receive grid penalties in the following race.
At the Austrian Grand Prix, Bottas and McLaren’s Lando Norris will drive with fresh internal combustion engine, turbocharger, MGU-H, MGU-K and exhaust system. With Bottas exceeding the limit of components, the Finn is set to start the Spielberg race from the back of the grid.
Leclerc has received a fresh energy store which is his second and final unit for the 2022 season. With the Monegasque being on limit on the turbochargers as well, he is expected to take several fresh components later on during the season possibly.
Bottas and his team mate Zhou Guanyu have received a new control electronics while Haas racer Mick Schumacher is using his fifth exhaust system at the Red Bull Ring.