Infiniti Red Bull Racing driver Daniel Ricciardo has been instructed by bosses at the Austrian racing outfit that he should prepare himself for two engine penalties this season, reports motorsport.com.
The team’s engine suppliers are French automakers Renault, who also supply parts to Red Bull’s junior team, Scuderia Toro Rosso. Until the 2014 season, Lotus Racing were also on the roster, but the team ended what had been a 20-year relationship prior to this season.
According to FIA regulations, drivers are only permitted four power units in a year. Red Bull have already exceeded their allowance, taking an extra power unit at the Austrian Grand Prix.
The Renault power units supplied to the team are currently undergoing upgrades, says boss Helmut Marko, and this upgraded spec may not be available to drivers until the Russian Grand Prix later this year. In light of this, Marko said Ricciardo would need at least “two engines”.
Drivers are penalised for exceeding allocations, and the new engine will mean the Australian will have to start the race 10 places behind his qualifying finish.
Red Bull vehicles have suffered frequent problems with their power units this year. Australian Ricciardo is on his fifth this year, following replacements ahead of Shanghai and a smokey end to the Grand Prix in Bahrain earlier this year, when Ricciardo finished in 6th as his engine billowed smoke as he pulled across the finish line.
The team have had a stressed, tenuous relationship with their manufacturers this year, as repeated problems with their power units and electrical components have not only affected Red Bull but the Toro Rossos of Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz Jr, both of whom have had multiple retirements this year. Red Bull bosses have hit out publicly at Renault earlier in the year, with Red Bull motorsports boss Helmut Marko openly expressing his displeasure to the press.
Ricciardo also had unknown problems at the Canadian Grand Prix, complaining that he “could not get any pace out of the car.” He lost out at the race, finishing in 13th despite a higher start in 9th.
Fortunes were completely transformed for Red Bull at the recently concluded Hungarian Grand Prix, however. both drivers drove spectacularly, and despite Ricciardo’s collision with Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton, Kvyat and Ricciardo both finished on the podium, with the young Russian in 2nd ahead of his Australian teammate. The team's tyre strategy was also instrumental in securing them the 2-3 behind Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel, who had led that race from the outset.
The Hungaroring, while not one of F1's easiest tracks, is not as iconic in terms of Spa-Francorchamps, the venue of the Belgian Grand Prix, in terms of the skill required to navigate it. A high-powered track, Spa is characterised by high speeds, quick, fast turns that require both skill and pace.
Along with Monza, the venue of the Italian Grand Prix, Spa is regarded by many as one of the best circuits on the Formula 1 calendar.
The Belgian Grand Prix will flag off at Spa-Francorchamps this weekend – and it is Daniel Ricciardo who is the reigning champion at the track.