Carlos Sainz Jnr, McLaren, Spa-Francorchamps, 2020

Sainz will use power unit which caused Spa retirement again at Monza

2020 Italian Grand Prix

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The engine which caused a “catastrophic” exhaust failure on Carlos Sainz Jnr’s McLaren at last weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix will be re-used by the team this weekend.

Sainz was unable to start Sunday’s race at Spa-Francorchamps after the failure, which occured during his reconnaissance lap.

However the team’s racing director Andrea Stella told RaceFans “it looks like the engine is re-usable” and they intend to run it during practice tomorrow.

“The problem we had is not a hardware problem,” he explained. “It started with a hardware problem then it developed in a way that the power unit itself didn’t suffer. That’s our current assessment.

“Because you are limited with power units, we would like to try and test it and see the health in practice and then we will make a call. From a team point of view you always would like to have maximum performance and you always would like to have maximum reliability.”

Sainz, who was unable to start the race because of the damage to the exhaust, will have the engine in his car for tomorrow’s practice sessions.

“The car was retired in Spa because of the consequences of the problem on the engine,” said Stella. “Basically there was a catastrophic failure of the exhaust.

“The engine itself, if the issues that started the whole problem could be fixed, then, if we will prove it tomorrow, will be able to continue. But the exhaust was catastrophically failed and it [would have taken] too long to change it.”

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Author information

Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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4 comments on “Sainz will use power unit which caused Spa retirement again at Monza”

  1. It was an exhaust failure which could, indeed, damage the engine. I am still confused how an engine failure can damage the exhaust,

    Perhaps 2 cylinders fired at the same time and overwhelmed the exhaust. But if it did that then valves and all sorts of related items would be mangled and then there would be no hope for at least one cylinder.

    Any ICE mechanics got any theories?

    1. Simple answer that im usre youll be frustrated you didnt think of directly

      MGU – H ie uses heat from exahust and engine to generate ERS/battery energy

      1. which makes the exhaust incredibly complex and possibly with a ton of potential failure points due to various stresses on the car/engine etc

  2. May as well have chucked a new engine in and take a penalty later. Seems a recipe for disaster trying to reuse it.

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