Ferrari duo Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Räikkönen are both expected to incur grid penalties for Sunday’s United States Grand Prix after taking on fresh power units in the lead-up to the race at the Circuit of the Americas.

Both drivers are already on to their fourth and final penalty-free power unit allocation of the season, but will drop a minimum of ten grid places as a result of the change.

The news will be a major blow to Sebastian Vettel’s already slim championship hopes. The German – who is 66 points adrift of championship leader Lewis Hamilton – needs to finish in second place of better to guarantee that the battle for the Drivers’ Championship will remain open until the following Grand Prix in Mexico City.

With four rounds of the championship season to go, there are a maximum of 100 championship points up for grabs.

“[The penalty] is no big secret and it is no surprise for us. This was always the plan in order for us to have the strongest engine available at every single point of the season,” Vettel said in the build-up to this weekend’s visit to Texas.

With the Constructors’ Championship battle having already been resolved in Mercedes’ favour – thanks to Räikkönen’s post-race penalty in Russia for colliding with Williams’ Valtteri Bottas – the Italian team’s other focus will be to secure the runners-up position. It must outscore Williams by 10 points this weekend to do so.

Image via XPB Images

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.