This year, teams are allowed to use four of each component of the power unit. Next year that’s set to drop to three – but only for the engine, turbocharger, and MGU-H.
All the other bits that make up the power unit – the control electronics, MGU-H and energy stores – will be reduced to just two for the whole season.
With 21 races on the 2018 calendar, that means that some parts will have to last for a massive 11 races if teams hope to escape penalties – more than double the lifespan required from them this year. That’s a serious step.
Things are bad enough this season already. With six races still to go, eight drivers have already gone over their limit of four elements on at least one of the PU components. Poor Stoffel Vandoorne has used as many as 10 of some of his elements. But yeah, using just two all year is a totally realistic goal…
It might not be so bad, but the news comes in the wake of the Italian Grand Prix, where 150 places worth of grid penalties made a bit of a mockery of the sport, leading to many teams and even Ross Brawn calling for an overhaul of the system.
Now unless reliability across the field improves by a significant amount, we’re even more likely to see qualifying affected by grid penalties, and it’ll start to happen earlier in the season, too.
Let’s just hope an alternative solution for penalising teams can be decided soon because if it can’t, then Toro Rosso may as well not bother to turn up on Saturday’s at all.