Formula 1 teams are subject to certain regulations regarding the usage of engines during a season. As of my knowledge cutoff in September 2021, each team was allowed to use a maximum of three power units (engines) per car for the entire season. These regulations were in place to control costs and promote sustainability in the sport.
The term "power unit" refers to the combination of the internal combustion engine (ICE), the energy recovery system (ERS), and the control electronics. It is a highly complex and technologically advanced package that provides the necessary propulsion for the Formula 1 cars.
The three-engine limit meant that teams had to carefully manage their engine usage throughout the season, considering factors such as performance, reliability, and longevity. Any additional power unit components used beyond the allocated limit would result in penalties.
Penalties for exceeding the engine limit varied depending on the specific component replaced. For instance, if a team used more than three complete power units, they would receive a grid penalty, which would require them to start the race from a lower position on the starting grid. Penalties could also be incurred for using additional individual components like engines, turbochargers, or energy storage systems.
Teams were allowed to make certain changes to their power units without incurring penalties. For example, they could change the control electronics and energy store (batteries) without penalty, as long as they remained within the overall limit of three complete power units.
It's important to note that Formula 1 regulations are subject to change over time, as the governing body, the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA), periodically reviews and updates the rules to ensure competitiveness, safety, and sustainability. Therefore, it is advisable to consult the latest regulations or official sources for the most up-to-date information on engine usage in Formula 1.