It seems as though quite a few teams have elected to use the Italian Grand Prix to introduce a whole load of new power unit components onto their cars. That’s because Monza is theoretically a reasonably easy circuit to make up places at compared to some of the upcoming tracks, and also because many of the teams taking the penalties expect to be good in the next race at Singapore.
That means there are plenty of grid penalties for the race, but as if that wasn’t bad enough, the order they’re applied in adds an extra little bit of confusion into the mix.
That’s because the drivers who left the pits first in FP1 get their grid penalty applied first, meaning they’ll actually start higher up the grid once the penalties for other drivers are applied. That’s why, for instance, Max Verstappen has a 20-place penalty but will actually start from 16th. Right…
Max will drop from second to 16th courtesy of a 20-place penalty for taking on a fifth ICE, MGU-H and turbo, whilst having qualified third Daniel Ricciardo will have to start 18th after serving a 25-place penalty for taking the same new bits as his teammate, plus a new gearbox.
Carlos Sainz Jr. will drop from 15th to 17th following a 10-place penalty for taking on his fifth MGU-H, meaning that Daniil Kvyat is in the unusual situation of being the only driver from the Red Bull stable not to have a penalty so far this weekend!
Nico Hulkenberg will drop from 12th to 15th following a 10-place penalty for taking on a new MGU-H, whilst Palmer has a 15-place penalty, dropping from 17th to 19th, for taking a new MGU-H and new turbo.
Rounding out the list of penalties is, of course, a McLaren. Not wanting to be outdone, Fernando Alonso has a 35-place penalty for taking on a new seventh ICE, seventh MGU-K, ninth MGU-H, ninth turbocharger, fifth control electronics, and sixth energy store, and he’ll start from 20th and last instead of his qualifying position of 13th.
His car was fitted with Honda’s latest spec 3.7 engine, but because the team wants to use it in Singapore (where it’s hoping to do well) and old engine was put pack in his car after first practice – the same engine he ‘had a problem with‘ when he retired in Spa…
It’s all a bit of a mess, isn’t it? Although there are few better alternatives to grid penalties it seems that F1 chiefs have finally had enough, with Ross Brawn recently saying the sport needs to get rid of them.
After all, Romain Grosjean crashed out of qualifying early on and was last in Q1, but will actually start from 14th in the race.
Grid penalties. Don’t you just love ‘em?