Italian Grand Prix – Sergio Perez will take a grid penalty and start from the rear of the grid after Racing Point fitted him with a fresh power unit.
The Mexican driver, who failed to make it through Q1 after stopping on track at the Curva Grande after just one flying lap, is facing a grid penalty on Sunday. Racing Point have opted to fit his car out with a fresh Spec 2 power unit after an undiagnosed power issue occurred, causing the failure.
“It’s a big shame.” said Perez after stopping on track on Saturday. “We lost an opportunity today and we were not able to go through. I think it was something with the engine but I don’t know yet – I haven’t spoken with my engineers. I just lost power and had to stop the car. We’ll see what we’re able to do tomorrow. Hopefully we can minimise the damage and have a strong race to try and score points.”
Racing Point initially said that they would discuss with Mercedes exactly what specification power unit to fit to Perez’ car. This is after several Spec 3 Merc power unit problems, including the Racing Points last week at Spa as well as a dramatic failure for Robert Kubica’s Williams in qualifying. Having considered the decision, they’ve gone with the Spec 2 – the spec used for the middle part of the season by the Merc powered teams.
“It’s a shame Sergio couldn’t join him in Q3 and the power unit issues need to be investigated and fully understood.” said team principal Otmar Szafnaruer after qualifying. “It means Sergio will start at the back of the grid tomorrow, which is a bit frustrating.”
Several other drivers have also taken penalties this weekend. Kimi Raikkonen will start from the pitlane after his Q3 crash on Saturday, while Max Verstappen and Pierre Gasly have had new Honda power units fitted to their cars. Lando Norris also has a new power unit, meaning he’s starting from close to the back.
The official starting grid will be confirmed shortly by the FIA.