With the 2023 Formula One season nearing its conclusion, several drivers are on the verge of exceeding their power unit allocation while there are only a few teams that bring updated parts for their car as focus shifts on next year.
The Sao Paulo Grand Prix was always going to turn out to be a weekend when very few upgraded parts were introduced. The Brazil F1 weekend is the last destination of the ultimate triple header in the 2023 F1 season which means that teams tend to debut their new parts at the opening round of successive race weekends. Moreover, sprint race weekends always bring the danger of not nailing the car's setup after just a single one-hour practice session. And with the season coming to a close, teams have already shifted their focus on the development of their 2024 F1 cars.
As a result of it, it is not surprising that only Haas have brought upgrades to Sao Paulo. The American team introduced a new circuit-specific upgrade with a new front wing flap. The team noted that the new flap has been developed to “match the requirement of the car setup suitable for” the Jose Carlos Pace track.Ferrari on the verge of engine penalties
Regarding the power units, Ferrari have equipped Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc's F1 car with a new exhaust system in Sao Paulo. Both drivers have used six exhaust systems so far across the 2023 F1 season, and with drivers having an allocation of eight units, the change does not trigger a penalty.
In the closing stages of the season, Ferrari have been long expected to change multiple power unit parts in both cars as both Sainz and Leclerc have put huge mileage in their internal combustion engines, turbochargers, MGU-Ks, and MGU-Hs following Ferrari's early reliability issues in the season. As the Scuderia have elected against changes for the Sao Paulo Grand Prix which would have triggered a raft of grid drop penalties, it seems now likely that Sainz and Leclerc will try to complete the season with the units from their existing pool that are still useable.
McLaren and Alfa Romeo used curfew exceptions ahead of the Sao Paulo Grand Prix weekend.
The Woking-based team worked on their cars “during the thirteen-hour period which commenced at 17:30 on 01 November, fourtytwo hours before the scheduled start time of P1 and ends twentynine hours before the scheduled start time of P1 at 06:30 on 02 November.”
The Hinwil-based squad continued to work on their cars “during the fourteen-hour period which commenced at 17:30 on 02 November, eighteen hours before the scheduled start time of P1 and ends four hours before the scheduled start time of P1 at 07:30 on 03 November.”
With teams having four exceptions during the year and both McLaren and Alfa Romeo have not used any exceptions so far, no action was taken.