Bottas to take another grid penalty, along with Russell and Vettel

2021 United States Grand Prix

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Valtteri Bottas will have a five-place grid penalty for this weekend’s United States Grand Prix after exceeding his power unit parts allocation again.

The Mercedes driver’s car has been fitted with its sixth different engine of the season so far. Drivers are allowed a maximum of three before they incur penalties.

A Mercedes spokesperson said Bottas’ new power unit will ensure “the best balance of performance and reliability to the end of the season.”

Two other Mercedes customers will also have grid penalties: Sebastian Vettel, as previously reported, and George Russell.

Bottas will have a new internal combustion engine fitted, further exceeding his maximum allocation, and will therefore move back five places on the grid. He will also have a new exhaust fitted, but remains within his allocation of those.

The other two Mercedes-powered drivers will also have new MGU-Hs fitted, also exceeding their maximum allocation of those components, and therefore will have to start at the back of the grid. Like with Bottas, both are taking new exhausts as well, but have not exceeded the maximum number of those.

Out of the eight Mercedes-powered drivers, only Lando Norris and Lance Stroll are yet to exceed their maximum allocation of power unit parts. Mercedes have been managing a reliability problem with their hardware.

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Power unit components used so far

No. Car Engine Driver ICE TC MGU-H MGU-K ES CE EX
77 Mercedes Mercedes Valtteri Bottas 6 5 5 4 2 3 6
10 AlphaTauri Honda Pierre Gasly 4 4 4 4 3 3 7
33 Red Bull Honda Max Verstappen 4 4 4 4 3 3 7
55 Ferrari Ferrari Carlos Sainz Jnr 4 4 4 3 3 3 7
11 Red Bull Honda Sergio Perez 4 4 4 4 4 4 6
16 Ferrari Ferrari Charles Leclerc 4 4 4 3 3 3 6
5 Aston Martin Mercedes Sebastian Vettel 4 3 4 3 2 2 5
3 McLaren Mercedes Daniel Ricciardo 4 4 4 2 2 2 4
31 Williams Mercedes Nicholas Latifi 4 4 4 2 2 2 4
63 Williams Mercedes George Russell 4 3 4 2 2 2 4
44 Mercedes Mercedes Lewis Hamilton 4 3 3 3 2 2 4
31 Alpine Renault Esteban Ocon 3 3 3 3 2 2 8
14 Alpine Renault Fernando Alonso 3 3 3 3 2 2 8
22 AlphaTauri Honda Yuki Tsunoda 3 3 3 3 3 3 6
7 Alfa Romeo Ferrari Kimi Raikkonen 3 3 3 2 2 2 6
99 Alfa Romeo Ferrari Antonio Giovinazzi 3 3 3 2 2 2 6
4 McLaren Mercedes Lando Norris 3 3 3 3 2 2 5
47 Haas Ferrari Mick Schumacher 3 3 3 2 2 2 5
9 Haas Ferrari Nikita Mazepin 3 3 3 2 2 2 5
18 Aston Martin Mercedes Lance Stroll 3 3 3 2 2 2 3

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2021 United States Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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18 comments on “Bottas to take another grid penalty, along with Russell and Vettel”

  1. 6th ICE for Bottas and only 4 for Lewis? Hmm…interesting.

    1. Well… It looks like he killed his new engine in one race to keep Verstapen behind. Now I understand where all that sudden surge of pace came from. I won’t be surprised, if he destroys another engine in Mexico to take more points from Verstapen.

  2. Dumb rule that after five you only lose five grid places. The more you use the more the penalty should be.

  3. This is staggering. I wish they would disclose more of what the issue is other than a weird sound. They were so reliable for years, and now Renault has better reliability than them!

    1. Eh, it’s not taking them out of races, so can’t really be too harsh about reliability.

  4. Bottas’ situaton is getting slightly funny.

  5. Anyone else get the impression Merc are cannibalizing Bottas’ parts for Hamilton?

    1. Not permittted under the rules. PU allocations are entry-specific.

      1. Obviously its illegal, what he is asking if they have found a way to do it.

  6. Mercedes have reliability concerns and are I believe taking Bottas’ pu components to the operating table to see what they need to do for Hamilton. They would not be taking grid penalties for no reason. This is kind of ominous for Hamilton. They have been turning things up to 11 to stay with RBR and this is perhaps causing some wear and tear they didn’t expect.

  7. I think they are not adding new ones without a reason. Partially it is likely because they want to avoid a race ending failure, and partially because they are forced to ask more from these reliable and good engines.

    Or it is the coup, what no entrant tried to do in the last more than a few seasons, Mercedes runs an ultra high mode, no matter how many new engines they have to fit. Just because being faster on track is a hard to beat thing :)
    Imo if they are doing so then they did it well, by asking only a bit more from the engines at every weekend until reliabilty problems are coming. They have 3 supplied teams, they could have done extensive live tests in this area. McLaren’s engine sounds was so high pitched here and there, some of us noticed it at Baku. Although they have a very quick car at a straight line, so it was likely as well.

    About copus like this: What if a smaller team want’s to use an allocation of 5 or 6 or 7 engines and squeeze them all.
    If they know it before the season, do they need to tell it to their supplier in advance? If they tell it can the supplier decline? Will the costs be the same, or as they are pushing it too hard, they are breaking some kind of warranty, and then they have to pay more? (I know that there are specialists and engineers from Pierelli and the engine suppliers at the supplied teams, so it will not get unnoticed.)
    If they do not have to pay significantly more, then why was not there at least one obivious effort like this in quite many years?

    Probably 2 of those 6 engines are already done at Valtteri’s pool. He is quite unlucky with these parts, it is the worst reliability at all of the Mercedes-supplied cars.
    Even before this information about Bottas’ 6th engine, I thought that Hamilton will need another major part (if not engine, then for example turbo or gearbox) added to the pool as well, because 6 races is still a lot.

    Interesting, is replacing the gearbox components not penalised currently, or they do not have a limit (maximum usable count without a penalty) like the others included in this chart? What is the penalty for a gearbox replacement?

    Recently I have googled about this topic, because of my thoughts about Hamilton only taking a half-penalty (and likely will take some more as the situation currently looks like). Probably he was asked by the team, and wanted to do this option, so to have some smaller grid drops, instead of one or two back of the grid start.

    Idea: it would be nice and functional to sort the table by columns. For React.js for example there are fairly easy to use libraries to do so, working quite well out of the box.

    1. I have not finished the “Recently I have googled about this topic” part.
      There I wanted to ask, what are the current penalties / kind of part, or for link to a valid source about it, because I have not found a fresh and reliable chart about it, only articles from many years before. Not even at, not even at Wikipedia.

    2. Afaik, a gearbox has to last 6 races, if you have to change it before (because of failure or crash), there is a 5 place grid penalty to be paid.
      But if you fail to finish a race (for whatever reason) you’re allowed to change it for free

  8. There is something fishy, how come only Bottas seems to have problem, thats 3rd PU change in 4 races.

  9. Have Mercedes calculated that it’s faster to take a new engine each race and run it on the limit with a one race lifespan and a 5 grid penalty than manage an engine for 4-5 races. Hmmm

    1. @emu55
      If it were just them then I’d even believe it, but it’s also Mercedes’ customers. No way Aston Martin and Williams would put in a new PU (for which they have to pay extra), if they don’t need to!

      Mercedes seem to have serious reliability problems with their ICE, ever since they introduced the 3rd unit. It seemed fine and very reliable in the first half of the season, but now they have to constantly change the combustion engine (Monza: Bottas – Sochi: Bottas, Latifi – Istanbul: Hamilton, Ricciardo – Austin: Bottas, Vettel, Russell).

  10. Team orders are allowed, you know mercedes, just shuffle on the track. But then again with his future secure Bottas isnt seeming as compliant these days..

  11. James Vowles to major Bottas
    James Vowles to major Bottas
    Take your engine penalty and put your helmet on
    James Volwes to major Bottas (ten, nine, eight, seven, six)
    Commencing from p20, engines on (five, four, three)
    Check ignition and may the power of porridge take you through (two, one and it’s lights out and away we go)

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