George Russell faces grid penalties later this season with the extent of damage to his Australian Grand Prix power unit revealed by Mercedes. The British driver retired from the race earlier this month with flames emerging from the rear of his W14. The failure came after Russell had seized the lead following a stunning start, surpassing eventual race winner Max Verstappen into Turn 1 before holding the lead until the Safety Car was deployed following Alex Albon’s crash at Turn 6. Mercedes decided to use the neutralisation to take a cheap pit stop but a red flag was subsequently thrown to leave Russell seventh in the pecking order. Russell did climb back up to fourth by the time of his engine failure, which saw him grind to a halt on the pit straight and triggering the Virtual Safety Car. RacingNews365.com can confirm that Mercedes has saved the electronic components of the power unit, but that all mechanical components were unsalvageable with debris passing through the W14 and causing internal damage. This means a penalty is likely for Russell down the line, with only three each of the Internal Combustion Engine (ICE), the Turbo Charger (TC), the Motor Generator Unit – Heat (MGU-H) and Motor Generator Unit – Kinetic (MGU-K) available per driver and the Mercedes having now moved onto its second of each after just three races. Reliability has caused teams issues this season with each of Red Bull, Aston Martin, Mercedes and Ferrari setback by mechanical gremlins. Max Verstappen started the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix 15th after a driveshaft failure in qualifying whilst Charles Leclerc’s issues that resulted in retirement in Bahrain carried across in the form of a 10-place grid penalty in Jeddah. Lance Stroll retired from the same event before Russell’s issues struck in Melbourne.
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