Perez and Ocon forced to change gearbox assemblies

Michelle Foster
Sergio Perez chased by Esteban Ocon. Bahrain March 2022

Red Bull driver Sergio Perez chased by the Alpine of Esteban Ocon. Bahrain March 2022

Despite it being the opening race weekend of the championship, Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon are already onto new gearbox parts.

The FIA revealed that both drivers changed an element of their gearbox assembly, running the new parts in Friday’s practice sessions at the Bahrain Grand Prix.

Perez finished FP2 in seventh place, a second down on his team-mate Max Verstappen, while Ocon was 12th.

Neither driver will receive a penalty as the drivers can change an element of their gearbox assembly four times during the season without incurring a grid drop.

This season, as part of Formula 1’s sweeping technical regulation changes, the gearbox rules have also been tweaked with the gearbox being broken down into elements – similar to the engine.

There is a limit of three casings and cassettes meaning a driver has three ‘gearboxes’ for the season.

Once a driver requires a fourth, they will receive a five-place grid penalty for the following event, with the same penalty being imposed for every subsequent gearbox introduction.

There is a different limit for the components within the gearbox cassette, that is set at four.

Once a driver requires a fifth change for any of those components, they’ll be hit with a five-place grid penalty.