Valtteri Bottas Abu Dhabi Grid Penalty Looms From Brazil PU Issues

Valtteri Bottas Abu Dhabi Grid Penalty Looms From Brazil PU Issues
Valtteri Bottas Abu Dhabi Grid Penalty Still In Play As Options Are Weighed After Brazil PU Fail.

Valtteri Bottas faces down a grid penalty in the final F1 event of the year at Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi. The Mercedes F1 Technical team are actively looking for solutions to his relatively reliable W10 that has failed the Finn on just two occasions out of 19 grand prix races thus far. The decision is now pushed to early next week, the week of the grand prix where I would predict based on the information at hand that Valtteri Bottas will take a grid penalty. Valtteri himself didn’t expect any miles to be left on the PU and James Allison had this to say about the power unit: 

Mercedes AMG F1 Technical Director James Allison Comments On The Finn’s Power Unit Issue

We don’t know any more about it. We know that we had elevated oil consumption during the race that ran away very sharply – very sharply – about half a lap before we saw it expire. The engine stopped itself rather than expired in a heap.

It’s unlikely that Valtteri will be able to run an older unit in Abu Dhabi. The fact that the Mercedes F1 power units have been so reliable is the issue. He’s completed all of his scheduled events with his given units. The potential to use an older unit that has achieved it’s planned use cycle of 7 races was shot down by a technical spokesperson of the Mercedes F1 team.

Valtteri had this to say about how his PU unit failure at Interlagos played out and why:

“I think there was a bit of smoke. I didn’t actually see the smoke, but they reported it to me and I couldn’t feel any loss of power but it just switched off.”

Chasing Leclerc In Brazil Affects Valtteri’s Abu Dhabi

After running directly behind Charles Leclerc for a significant portion of laps 51 and 52, Bottas was asked to park the car immediately on lap 53, turn 3. Over team radio you can hear Valtteri not exactly sure what happened as he wasn’t experiencing any power loss. Bottas switched to the hard tyre in order to attempt to make it until the end of the race. Things were complicated by a potential Alex Albon undercut which forced Valtteri off his planned strategy. Given the cryptic messages by Allison and the Mercedes technical stuff, it seems unlikely the 6x world championship team will escape a Valtteri Bottas Abu Dhabi grid penalty despite their best attempt at a poker face.

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