Toro Rosso has swapped its drivers around so much at this point in the 2017 Formula One season that Brendon Hartley is being penalized for an engine swap on Daniil Kvyat’s old car. But Daniil Kvyat isn’t considered to be driving his old car, even though his number is running this weekend on Toro Rosso’s other car.
Confused yet? So were we.
Formula One, a series where competitors can replace whole tubs if they’re damaged, apparently keeps track of major mechanical component usage by entry, not by driver. Whoever gets put into a certain set of car-components inherits all the baggage associated with that entry on the grid—including how many components have been used.
Pierre Gasly took over Daniil Kyvat’s entry when Kvyat was put on an involuntary break by the team. Then when Carlos Sainz Jr. went to Renault early, Daniil Kvyat was brought in to run Sainz’s former entry—not his own old car.
Gasly, of course, was supposed to compete in the (sadly canceled) Super Formula season finale this weekend, thus opening up the seat on Kyvat’s original entry for the season, which was filled by Brendon Hartley. When Kvyat’s former entry needed a sixth new engine, sixth MGU-H (the hybrid system’s heat recovery system), fifth energy store and fifth control electronics, it was Hartley who received the 25-place grid drop for the new bits, Sky Sports reports.
Welcome to Formula One in 2017, Hartley. Here’s a big friggin’ grid penalty. Yeah, we’re sick of them, too.
Hartley’s in good company swapping around spots at the back of the grid. Red Bull wonderboy Max Verstappen got a 20-place penalty for the use of a sixth engine and MGU-H. Another 24 Hours of Le Mans winner with the Porsche 919 team and current Renault driver Nico Hülkenberg received a 20-place grid drop for a new engine, MGU-H and turbocharger. McLaren’s Stoffel Vandoorne also received a 30-place grid drop for an eighth new Honda engine and yet another MGU-H.
Additionally, two drivers got three-place demotions each for impeding fast laps during qualifying: Williams driver Lance Stroll and Haas driver Kevin Magnussen. Grid penalties are applied in the order in which the “offenses” (term used really loosely for some because at this point, we’re punishing McLaren-Honda for punishing themselves) occurred.
The full starting grid can be found here.