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Red Bull set for power unit grid penalties in Russia

Russian Grand Prix – Red Bull Racing look set to be given grid penalties for fitting fresh power unit components on both Daniel Ricciardo’s and Max Verstappen’s cars.

Following teething troubles with the ‘spec C’ Renault power unit, Red Bull boss Christian Horner says the team will use fresh ‘spec B’ power units for the Russian Grand Prix.

With Red Bull having relatively little to lose over the remainder of the season, they’ve been trialling the latest Renault power unit. However, Renault pre-warned that this experimental unit may have reliability issues, as a result, McLaren and the works Renault team have been reluctant to use it.

Red Bull have used the ‘spec C’ unit in Monza and throughout the Singapore Grand Prix weekend, but Verstappen had weekend-long driveability issues.

The need for a strong power unit at the Sochi Autodrom means that Red Bull have chosen to fit fresher, more reliable ‘spec B’ units, which will incur grid penalties, which are handed out for exceeding the power unit component allocation.

“We’ve got the previous specification going in for the next race, so Sochi is going to be a tough weekend for us,” said Horner.

“We accepted the risks when we took this [Spec C] engine. It has delivered a bit more power and it has been a bit rough around the edges.

“I think the [Red Bull mechanics] actually did a good job to tidy it up as best they could on the mapping within their parameters. With more time and more optimisation, it would only be better.”

With Singapore yielding an upturn in competitiveness for Red Bull, Horner added that the team may have one final shot to take a win before the season ends.

“I think realistically this year, Mexico is probably the only shot we’ve got left [of a win] under normal circumstances.”

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Luke Murphy

As an FIA-accredited motor sport journalist, degree-level Motorsport Engineer and amateur karter, Luke's passion for motor sport is evident. He is one of the editors at FormulaSpy and one of the longest-standing members of the team.

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