SAO PAULO, (Reuters) – Australian Daniel Ricciardo will have a five place grid penalty for tomorrow’s Brazilian Grand Prix, the penultimate race of the Formula One season, after Red Bull replaced the turbocharger on his car’s power unit.
Stewards said the sixth new turbocharger exceeded the driver’s permitted allocation, triggering the automatic drop.
Team principal Christian Horner told Sky Sports television that the problem was a consequence of Ricciardo’s retirement at the previous race in Mexico and the local marshals’ use of a fire extinguisher. “You can’t really blame them, the car was obviously smoking,” he said. “But they shot foam up the exhaust and as it solidifies in the turbo, it’s terminated it.
“He’ll take a five place penalty but hopefully on a track like this it’s not actually that big a penalty.”
Ricciardo was first out of the garages in practice at Interlagos yesterday, waiting for several minutes at the end of the pits for the session to start. Under Formula One rules, grid penalties are applied according to the order in which the offences are committed, as registered by the car’s transponder leaving the pitlane.
That means anyone else who picks up a penalty will have it applied after Ricciardo’s. The Australian, who is joining Renault for next season, started the previous race in Mexico on pole position before suffering his eighth retirement of the season, twice as many as team mate Max Verstappen.
A disappointed Ricciardo said afterwards that he did not see the point in doing the last two races but soon changed his mind.
“I was angry and upset. At the time I felt like I meant it but deep down I didn’t,” he told Sky Sports television. “It was a good way to express how I felt.
“Fortunately, I tend to wake up Monday morning and it’s like a new day and I can forget pretty quickly the Sunday.”
Sunday’s race has no bearing on the constructors’ championship for Red Bull, who cannot overtake Ferrari for second place or lose out on third.
The drivers’ title has already been won by Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton for the fifth time.