Ferrari’s MGU-K identified as Haas’ weak spot

Editor
Haas' Kevin Magnussen at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix. Baku, June 2022.

Investigations into Haas’ mechanical problems in recent races have identified Ferrari’s MGU-K as the problematic component.

The mechanical failures encountered by Kevin Magnussen and Mick Schumacher in recent races have stemmed from Ferrari’s supplied MGU-K, according to a report in German media.

While Magnussen made the chequered flag at last weekend’s Canadian Grand Prix, the Danish driver finished in 17th after being forced to pit early on due to being shown the black and orange flag for having damage on his front wing.

Schumacher retired from a points position on Lap 19, having qualified in sixth on a much stronger weekend for the German driver. Slowing to a halt on the back straight, Schumacher’s issue has been identified as an MGU-K failure on the Ferrari power unit, according to Auto Motor und Sport.

It’s the fourth such issue to hit Haas in the first nine races of the season, with Schumacher also encountering MGU-K issues in free practice at the Monaco Grand Prix, while Magnussen has also had problems. He encountered MGU-K problems in qualifying at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, as well as retiring from the Monaco Grand Prix with an MGU-K failure.

Magnussen is already on his final permitted MGU-K for the season, while Schumacher will now move onto his last permitted. Further failures will thus mean grid penalties for the drivers, a seeming inevitability given there are still 13 race weekends left in 2022.

Magnussen’s failure during the Azerbaijan Grand Prix has been identified as the MGU-H.

According to AMuS, Ferrari suspect that the low ride height of the Haas VF-22 is resulting in heavier contact with kerbing and circuit bumps – affecting the American-based team’s cars more than fellow Ferrari customers Alfa Romeo, as well as the Scuderia. Alfa have also had an MGU-K failure, with Valtteri Bottas losing one at the Monaco Grand Prix.

Mick Schumacher stopped out on track. Baku June 2022

Ferrari have struggled with reliability on the power unit front in 2022, thanks to problems across their energy recovery systems and turbos, rather than with the internal combustion engine itself.

A high-profile retirement for Charles Leclerc in Spain was identified as a turbo and MGU-H issue, with Ferrari opting against changing his engine after discovering the cause.

However, his retirement from the lead in Azerbaijan is suspected to have been caused by some unspotted damage as a result of the Spanish failure. Ferrari thus introduced a new engine, turbo, MGU-H, and MGU-K to Leclerc’s car for the Canadian Grand Prix.

With Haas bearing the brunt of the Ferrari issues so far, team boss Guenther Steiner admitted it’s become a bigger concern in recent races now that their allocation of MGU-Ks has almost been used up.

“Would you believe me if said ‘no, I have no concerns at all’?” he joked with The Race.

“Obviously, we had some issues, it was mainly Monte Carlo, before we didn’t have any big issue with it. But [in] Monte Carlo there were issues [for] us and Alfa Romeo. So hopefully they stop but you’re always concerned about this.

“There are concerns. They’re always there. But, after Monte Carlo, they are a little bit bigger.”