In the wake of his power unit failure at Zandvoort last weekend, Valtteri Bottas is expected to get a grid penalty for the third time in six races at the Italian GP.
This comes as the Alfa Romeo driver parked at the end of the pit straight during lap 54 of the Dutch Grand Prix, which brought about a safety car.
However, Bottas still has two functional Ferrari engines in his arsenal, but the Swiss team is aware that he will require a third one and does not want to take the chance of having to install a new engine at either of the upcoming races in Singapore or Suzuka, where overtaking is challenging and advantageous grid positions are key to a good race finish.
The Finn is reportedly planning to take at least a V6, turbo, and MGU-H this weekend, which, if confirmed, he will lose up to 15 grid places. However, he may take other components over the weekend, which would then ensure a starting position at the rear of the grid.
This season, Bottas has been among the unluckiest drivers on the grid. After receiving a new V6, turbo, MGU-H, MGU-K, and control electronics at the start of the weekend in Austria, he was given a back-of-the-grid penalty before using further turbo and MGU-H components on race day.
He took an additional V6, turbo, and MGU-H at the Belgian Grand Prix to receive a 15-place penalty, but at least he was able to start in front of those who had taken more elements and were at the end of the grid.
The turbo and MGU-H will both mark the seventh components used for the season, while the V6 he will take this weekend will be the sixth.
Recently, team boss Fred Vasseur admitted that Alfa Romeo’s reliability issues this year without considering just those involving the power unit, have drained the team’s finances.
“As always, it’s never one thing… I think the Ferrari engine did a step forward,” Vasseur said. “We did the same job on the chassis side also and I think that Valtteri and Zhou [Guanyu] are performing… Altogether, it’s a good step.”
“Now, in terms of results, we had also some issues in terms of reliability… This cost us a fortune in terms of points, some events we were in very good shape, like Jeddah or Silverstone, and on some occasions with Zhou also.”
“This is a real shame for us, and for the championship, but it is like it is, and we just have to fix it for the second part of the season.”
Since Bottas and Zhou finished seventh and eighth in Canada, Alfa Romeo has gone six races without scoring, placing them sixth in the constructors’ standings with 51 points.
Bottas won the sprint race at Monza last year after setting the fastest time in qualifying for Mercedes. However, he was demoted to the back of the grid for the grand prix after switching to a new engine, turbocharger, MGU-H, and MGU-K.