Reigning world champion Max Verstappen will complete the Hungarian Grand Prix with his fourth and final gearbox after Red Bull opted for a change at the last round before the field commences its three-week summer break.
For this season, Formula One has changed the rules in regard to the way drivers can use gearboxes throughout the championship. 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.
Championship runaway leader Verstappen has received his fourth and last gearbox at Budapest – both a fresh gearbox case and a fresh gearbox driveline. It means he needs to complete the last part of the championship by alternating his previous ones if he wants to avoid a grid-drop penalty.
However, Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko indicated at Budapest that the Dutchman might exceed his allocation of fresh power units which would make it logical to install a fifth gearbox in to his car. A fifth gearbox would result in a grid-drop penalty, but should Verstappen exceed his allocation of power units and use a fifth gearbox at the same event, he would start from the back of the grid anyway.
Aston Martin driver Sebastian Vettel will also take part at this weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix with a fresh gearbox, albeit it is only his third unit, meaning he still has one more fresh unit at his disposal for the remainder of the current season.
As far as the power units are concerned, there is only one single change with McLaren’s Lando Norris taking on a new exhaust system.
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.
The Bristol-born McLaren racer has used three exhaust systems so far, meaning that he still has four more units for the last nine races of the season. In terms of exhaust system, Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc might face troubles later on in the season as he has already used seven units with only one fresh remaining for him. However, Ferrari might alternate his previous ones or he could take a new one when he serves further grid-drop penalties when taking new power unit elements after the summer break.