Red Bull braced for engine penalties at Monza
Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo and Daniil Kvyat are set to take strategic grid penalties at next week’s Italian Formula One Grand Prix to give themselves the best chance at the following race in Singapore.
“I’m fairly certain we will be taking new engines with both cars (at Monza) considering the amount of races left,” team principal Christian Horner told reporters after Sunday’s Belgian Grand Prix.
“It’s inevitable that we will be staring down the barrel of our next penalty.
“Strategically Monza is the most likely, we don’t want to be going into Singapore with old engines or any risk,” added Horner who saw Kvyat finish fourth in Spa while Ricciardo retired.
“That’s really our next chance to shine.”
Monza is the fastest track on the calendar and likely to favour Mercedes, whose engine has eclipsed the Renault unit in the back of the Red Bull since the V6 turbo hybrid was introduced last year.
But Singapore, a floodlit night race with a tight and twisty layout, should play more to Red Bull’s strengths after they finished second and third at equally slow Hungary and fourth and fifth in Monaco.
Red Bull finished second and third in Singapore last season.
Both Australian Ricciardo and Russian Kvyat have already had 10 place grid penalties this season, in Austria, for exceeding their allocation of four power units.
Their problems have been nothing as dramatic as Honda-powered McLaren, whose drivers collected a meaningless combined drop of 105 places on the 20-slot grid last weekend, but relations with Renault have been fractious.
Speculation in Spa suggested they may have reached breaking point already, with some claiming that the team had handed Renault a formal letter of intent to end the contract which expires in 2016 and seeking a deal with Mercedes.
Horner said the bigger question was what Renault were planning to do, with the French manufacturer assessing whether to quit the sport or become more involved as a full works outfit by buying another team.
“Hopefully that will become forthcoming in the next few weeks,” he said. “We’ve got an agreement with Renault until 2016 and anything other than that is purely speculation at the moment.
“Our aim is to be as competitive as we can as quickly as we can. First of all we want to understand what the situation with Renault is, what commitment they’ve got to reducing the deficit (to Mercedes).”