Technical: Hamilton to start the Suzuka race with a fresh engine

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Following the technical issues with his power unit in Australia, Lewis Hamilton will line up with a fresh Mercedes power unit on the grid at tomorrow's Japanese Grand Prix.

Power units

For the 11th year running, the 2024 F1 cars are powered by V6 hybrid turbo power units with 1.6-litre engines. This season represents the penultimate year the current engine configuration appears before being replaced by a new power unit formula in 2026.

Current F1 power units feature seven elements: the internal combustion engine (ICE), motor generator unit-heat (MGU-H), motor generator unit-kinetic (MGU-K), turbocharger, energy store (ES), control electronics (CE) and exhaust.

Over the course of the 2024 season, a driver may use no more than four ICEs, MGU-Hs, MGU-Ks and turbochargers, two energy stores and control electronics, and eight of each of the four elements that make up a set of exhaust systems (comprising primaries left-hand side, primaries right-hand side, secondary LHS and secondary RHS).

In Suzuka, four drivers will race with a new internal combustion engine: Lewis Hamilton, Sergio Perez, Esteban Ocon and Yuki Tsunoda.

The seven-time world champion's move from his first ICE to the second one was enforced by his reliability issues in Melbourne which saw him retire from the Australian Grand Prix. The Anglo-German outfit investigated Hamilton's troubled engine at its Brixworth base, but concluded that it cannot be returned to his pool of power units.

The same quartet of drivers has started the Suzuka weekend with a fresh turbocharger, MGU-H and MGU-K.

Ocon and Gasly have received a new control electronics for the weekend while the cars of the Alpine pair, Perez, Hamilton, Charles Leclerc, Carlos Sainz and Tsunoda have been equipped with a new exhaust system.

Saturday saw Alpine announce that it has equipped Pierre Gasly's A524 with a host of new components, including a new internal combustion engine, turbocharger, MGU-K, MGU-H, energy store and exhaust system.

Neither of the changes have triggered a sporting penalty, as each driver remained inside their allocation. However, Gasly and Ocon have started using their second CE which means that they have to complete the rest of the season without having any new units.

Gearbox units

Drivers are also limited in terms of how many restricted-number components (RNCs) they can use during a season. RNCs are components that make up the gearbox, split between the gearbox case and cassette, and the gearbox driveline, gear change components and auxiliary components.

As with their power units, drivers have a ‘pool’ of four gearboxes that can be swapped around during the season. Only when a driver exceeds their allocation of either of the above gearbox components do they receive a grid penalty.

Several drivers have elected to use a new gearbox case and driveline at the Japanese Grand Prix: Hamilton, George Russell, Leclerc, Logan Sargeant Valtteri Bottas and Nico Hulkenberg.