Today the FIA published its report on the power unit components used up until the end of the British Grand Prix at Silverstone (the ninth race of the season).  Note the components used during the in-season testing are not counted as part of the five power units required to last the year.  The report is shown below:


There could be a mistake in here.  Last time the FIA had reported that Nico Rosberg had used three Energy Stores (ES), and this time it is showing only two.  Either this report is in error, or the one produced prior to Silverstone is.  However the driver who I am really concerned about is Daniil Kvyat, who has now used all of his five allowed Internal Combustion Engines (ICE) and Motor Generator Units – Kinetic (MGU-K), these units now have to last for the remaining ten race weekends if he is to avoid a grid penalty.

While the absolute number of units used by a driver can give an indication of how much difficulty they may be in, perhaps seeing how long they have managed to make each component last may give a better feel for which drivers/teams/power unit manufacturers are really in trouble.  So the use of the various components is as follows:


As was discussed in the comments last time, the Control Electronics are split into different sub-sections, and these splits differ between the three manufacturers.  Each of these sub-sections can be changed independently without requiring a whole new CE to be fitted.

With a ten place grid drop for the first time a sixth component is used, and a five place grid drop for each subsequent component of the sixth Power Unit, I wonder if a team (Toro Rosso) may make a tactical fitting of a complete sixth Power Unit (which results in the driver starting from the pitlane), rather than fitting the components piecemeal?  To do so may result in a smaller number of grid places lost over the course of the season, but would require all five components to have been used in the power unit beforehand.  It will be interesting to see if Daniil Kvyat suddenly starts using TC, MGU-K, ES and CE at a far higher rate than he has done so far.


A long time fan of Formula 1 and grass roots motorsport, I am interested in the engineering aspects not only of F1 but the 'men in sheds' who develop homemade specials to take on the products of the big racing car manufacturers.
  • Shane

    So does one component equal the whole PU penalty-wise? If Romain Grosjean uses two more turbo chargers, but only uses 5 ICE’s, would he get the 10 place grid penalty for the sixth TC? You may have covered that in the last paragraph, but it’s still a little confusing.

    • Very good question; kudos for asking and learning rather than being angry with the intricacies (and some-times convolutedness).

      Yes, each PU component has its own 5-unit allocation. With your Grojean example, using the TC #6 would earn a grid penalty, no matter his remaining other-component allotment.

      • Shane

        Thanks for clearing that up for me. I imagine mid-to-late season is going to get really interesting with the differing PU strategies.

  • Thanks for taking the time on the graphs. Visualizing helps illustrate how precarious it’s getting for some on the grid.

    I feel very stupid however; is longevity of each component denoted? I don’t see a time/event scale measuring each component’s usage vs. its predecessor/successor. Bottas’ most recent ICE failure might cause concern, for example, but as it purportedly ran 2 prior race/quali and an undisclosed number of FP sessions, it’s not as bad as a “new” ICE going kablammo in its first event.

    Or, are you visualizing component vs. component i.e. ICE v. ERS v. CE, etc.? In that case, thanks again.

    An important detail we fans won’t get is the condition of drivers’ already-used PU components. If for example young Mr. Kvaat has an old ICE that’s still employable, he can re-use it and avoid a penalty, albeit with potential wear-and-tear performance and reliability ramifications. As you mention, strategic penalty-acceptance for #6 units will play a role towards season-end.

    • MIE

      The data from the VIA just shows how many of each component have been used to date. It doesn’t specify which unit has actually been used for each evening.
      Many drivers are on their third ICE, yet while Caterham are on track to make their five units last the season, the data shows Sutil would have more difficulty.

      • Yeah, the Bottas failure/usage was from Symonds during FP. To be fair, FIA sending out component data is both unrealistic logistically and unfair competitively.

        I now see your intent with the graphs; thanks.

  • Manuel G

    Middle of the season and drivers in danger of a penalty already and next year number is reduced to 4 power units

    next season should be …. interesting

  • MIE

    FIA Technical Report Document 8 from the German Grand Prix
    Idcicates that a few more drivers will be racing with their fifth Power Unit component this weekend:
    Pastor Maldonado is on his fifth ICE, TC, MGU-K and MGU-H;
    Romain Grosjean is on his fifth TC;
    Jean-Eric Vergne is on his fifth MGU-K;
    and Kamui Kobayashi has a new CE PSU which may take him onto his fifth CE.

    At this rate we will see driver penalties before the summer break. I do hope Renault make some significant reliability improvements for next season.

    • C. Scarborough reports Renault’s ’15 PU on the dyno.

      Regarding Kobayashi’s CE, I still don’t understand whether subcomponent change constitutes CE in its entirety.

      • MIE

        Only if he has used four CE PSU before.

        Drivers have changed different sub-components of their CE at different times, and not increased their overall CE use.

    • Rapierman

      I’d like to know the FIA’s reason behind that small number.

      • MIE

        To save money.

        Before the FIA started mandating longer life engines in 2004, teams would use eight engines every race weekend. Since then engine life has been gradually extended. An unexpected side effect of these regulations has been a dramatic improvement in F1 car reliability and as a result the number of cars able to finish each race.

      • In Motorsport Magazine’s most-recent podcast, Wlliams’ Pat Fry, Andy Cowell of Merc HP Powertrains, Mark Hughes, and Kirsty Andrews (Cosworth sales director) explained how the 2014’s Power Unit team costs are less than in 2000 and 2006, higher development fees counterbalanced by production and resource reduction. Real dollars, not inflation-adjusted.

        I gripe as much about the FIA as any, but some credit is due them; the power train restrictions appear to work, as do extra Option sets for Quali 3 promoting running, aero reduction improving raciness (to me), and selective track-limits enforcement.

        FIA can take standing restarts and mid-season rule changes and shove them still. :)

  • MIE

    So, what damage did the race ending fire do to Kvyat’s power unit? Could he be the first to get a ten place grid penalty in Hungary?

    • I believe Kvyat’s Canada ICE might be reusable; it’d run only 1 event (I think), and the cracked manifold shouldn’t have affected the internals. No idea on -K situation.

      Either way, he’s in deep trouble. I’d expect his Germany fire to have toasted the entire PU no matter whether oil/fuel leak, heat-induced bodywork blaze, or ICE failure. I agree, he’ll be the first PU penalty.

      Unfortunate for Kvyat, but selfishly, I’d enjoy seeing him slice through the back markers if Hungary brings penalty; he’s exciting, if a little rough around the edges, a salve for a “boring” venue.