DANIEL Ricciardo will have a five-place grid penalty imposed for Sunday’s Brazilian Grand Prix after his Red Bull team 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 for the penultimate race of the Formula One season.
Team principal Christian Horner said 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,” Horner told Sky. “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 Friday’s practice at Interlagos, waiting for several minutes at the end of the pits for the session to start. Under F1 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.
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The 29-year-old, 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 teammate 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.
“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.
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Mercedes set the second-practice pace on Friday, with Valtteri Bottas just faster than teammate Hamilton.
The Red Bulls of Ricciardo and Max Verstappen were fourth and fifth. Meanwhile Pietro Fittipaldi, 22-year-old grandson of Brazil’s two times Formula One world champion Emerson, will be official test driver for Haas next year, the US-owned team said on Friday.
The Miami-born Brazilian will also take part in a Pirelli tyre test in Abu Dhabi on November 27.