Renault's long-awaited new MGU-K made its track debut in FP1 at the Austrian Grand Prix, but both Red Bulls and the McLaren of Fernando Alonso have stuck with the older specification.
The new component, which Renault believes offers both improved reliability and performance, has been fitted to the works Formula 1 cars of Carlos Sainz and Nico Hulkenberg, and the McLaren of Stoffel Vandoorne. In each case it’s the second example of the season, so there are no grid penalties.
However, Red Bull has elected not to use the new spec as both Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo would receive grid penalties if they take an extra MGU-K - with the same true for Alonso.
“It’s available for all the cars that want it,” Cyril Abiteboul told Motorsport.com this week. “It happens that not all teams have elected to go to the new spec.
“It’s one that we’ve been long awaiting, but it’s a bit of a problem that some teams have elected not to use it, which means that they will continue to use the MGU-K of a previous technical definition, with a higher reliability risk.
"But that’s our philosophy, to accept the teams’ choice, having all the information.”
Abiteboul added that the new unit has “better performance, better packaging and with a better reliability level".
Hulkenberg played down the significance of the change, but revealed that the new unit has saved some weight.
“We don't expect a huge deal from it,” said the German. “It's not going to make us a second a lap quicker or something. It’s one piece of the puzzle in all the updates we bring over the course of the season.
“For me the positive news is that there is quite a bit of weight saving. Recently I have been quite a bit overweight, especially in qualifying, which just costs performance.
"That will help me more than anything else, I think. Also the team hopes for improvements on reliability.”
In other Renault changes for Austria, Sainz, Hulkenberg, Vandoorne and Alonso each have a new energy store, Sainz has a new turbo, and Alonso has a new control electronics.
None of those changes will trigger a penalty, but in each case the driver is on the bubble with that particular element, and thus one more change away from a grip drop.