Three of the four Renault-powered runners will receive grid penalties at this weekend’s Italian Grand Prix after both Red Bull Racing and Scuderia Toro Rosso confirmed that it would perform a number of power unit element changes.
Having managed to survive the Belgian Grand Prix without the need for an engine change for either driver, both Red Bull Racing drivers – Daniel Ricciardo and Daniil Kvyat – will receive a minimum 10-place grid penalty apiece for requiring a sixth engine of the season.
“We’ll be taking a penalty this weekend with both cars, which will be power unit six,” team principal Christian Horner told Autosport.
“We’re out of mileage on the units we’ve got, and we need to do what we can to get to the end of the year. We’ve decided to take it tactically at Monza because it’s a track where you are flat out for 75 per cent of it, so of course it’s not going to be our strongest circuit of the year.”
It will be a similar story at Scuderia Toro Rosso, where Carlos Sainz Jr will start with a new engine after his failed in the early stages of the Belgian Grand Prix, the Italian team has confirmed.
Both teams’ Renault power units have struggled for power and reliability in the second season of the sport’s turbo-hybrid engine regulations, and are now reported to be the least powerful of the four engine marques in the field. This is according to Honda’s claim that its latest engine updates – delivered at the previous round in Belgium – now give it a 25bhp advantage over the Renaults.
The complicated grid drop penalties – where either 5- or 10-place drops are handed out for each power unit element change – came under fire at the preceding Belgian Grand Prix, where the two McLaren Hondas were collectively handed 105 grid spot penalties for performing two engine changes per car to give it enough power units for the remainder of the season in a bid to avoid further grid penalties.
Both Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso started at the rear of the grid, a small penalty given the possible advantage of having both cars possessing a wealth of new power unit elements to help them see out the season.
There exists the possibility that both Renault-powered teams might elect to take the same path this weekend, given that neither team is likely to be running at the front of the field.
Image via Red Bull Racing and Scuderia Toro Rosso