Qualifying for the recent Italian Grand Prix was somewhat farcical, after nine drivers were slapped with grid penalties for the race at the ‘Temple of Speed’.
Nine drivers, including, Max Verstappen, Sergio Pérez, Carlos Sainz and Sir Lewis Hamilton, were awarded grid penalties at Monza following either a complete power unit change or just a component change.
It saw drivers like George Russell start on the front row, despite having qualified in sixth.
Ex-F1 driver Martin Brundle labelled the situation as “unacceptable”, with Formula 1 itself having become confused about the starting order for the race.
The official grid wasn’t released until several hours after the session had finished, meaning that thousands of fans were left confused come race day when drivers were seemingly out of position.
The laughable number of grid penalties come as a result of each driver only being allocated three power units for the entire season, with any further resulting in a penalty.
With the number of power units allowed having been decreased despite the number of races increasing, teams are understandably being forced into taking grid penalties to avoid a mid-race engine failure.
Ferrari have taken more engine penalties than anyone, after taking an aggressive approach this season in regard to their power unit design.
The Italian’s opted for performance over reliability, which as a result has seen Charles Leclerc suffer two engine failures mid-race, with Carlos Sainz having also experienced one.
One of the biggest reasons why the legal limit is capped at three is to reduce each teams’ running costs, which comes at a time when the budget cap is extremely difficult to keep to due to the rapidly rising costs around the world.
Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto wants the sport to “reconsider” the number of allowed power units, with “too many” drivers having been awarded penalties at the Italian GP.
“I think the amount of penalties [at Monza] are too many,” said Binotto.
“It’s difficult for a fan, I think, to see a car on pole and not starting on pole because he’s got grid penalties or whatever.
“Maybe the three power units for each driver are too little at that stage for what we have achieved. Maybe we need to reconsider as well for the next seasons.”