Daniel Ricciardo’s Canadian Grand Prix weekend has gotten off to a terrible start, with Adrian Newey confirming the team will take a grid penalty.
Ricciardo heads to Canada on a high; winner of the Monaco Grand Prix, he dominated the event from start to finish, despite encountering an MGU-K failure during the race that threatened to cause a mechanical breakdown. While the nature of the Monaco track allowed Ricciardo to weather the storm and come home as race winner, the same issue looks set to have caused some longer-lasting repercussions.
Speaking to Sky Sports News, Red Bull’s technical chief Adrian Newey confirmed that Ricciardo will be hit with grid penalties: “Unfortunately, we will be taking penalties.”
“We could be suffering some quite big penalties. We are only allowed two batteries etc and the system in that sense seems completely wrong.”
Red Bull are waiting to hear back from Renault about whether there was more damage done to Ricciardo’s power unit beyond his MGU-K:
“One of things there is whether the battery was damaged or not in Monaco, so until we know that from Renault we don’t know exactly what we’re facing. The MGU-K is definitely a penalty.”
Ricciardo has already used two MGU-Ks, Control Electronics, and Energy Stores. If he needs a change beyond his MGU-K, this will trigger further penalties than the ten places the MGU-K by itself will.
With Ricciardo closing the gap at the head of the table to just 38 points to championship leader Lewis Hamilton, a major stumbling block will be the penalties he will incur throughout the year, thanks to poor reliability over the opening third of the season. He only has one power unit change left before he will encounter more penalties for more engines being required.
The penalties come at a bad time for the Red Bull/Renault relationship, with the team openly courting Honda following the Japanese manufacturer’s improved showing with junior team Toro Rosso. A Red Bull/Honda partnership would essentially be a works agreement, something that RBR do not currently enjoy with Renault following the manufacturer’s return to team ownership two years ago. As it stands, the Red Bull/Renault partnership is in its final year of contract, with a renewal needed to be decided upon in the coming weeks.