TECHNICAL: Russell to race with fresh Mercedes engine in China

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Mercedes driver George Russell will compete in tomorrow's Chinese Grand Prix with a fresh internal combustion engine. F1Technical's senior writer Balázs Szabó report on which drivers will use fresh power unit parts and gearbox in the Shanghai F1 race.

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).

Mercedes driver George Russell's car has been equipped with a fresh internal combustion engine, turbocharger, MGU-H and MGU-K for the Shanghai F1 round. The one-time grand prix winner has only used a single unit from these elements, meaning that he has still two new ICEs, TCs, MGU-Hs and MGU-Ks for the remainder of the season.

There were several drivers, who have received a new exhaust system for the Chinese Grand Prix. Alongside Russell, the two Kick Sauber drivers Valtteri Bottas and Zhou Guanyu and the two Haas racers Kevin Magnussen and Nico Hulkenberg will race with a new exhaust system tomorrow.

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.

Two drivers have elected to use a new gearbox case and driveline at the Chinese Grand Prix: Zhou Guanyu and Oscar Piastri.