Ricciardo Could Take Tactical Engine Change Penalty in Mexico

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Red Bull Racing are looking into whether or not they should change the power unit on Daniel Ricciardo’s RB13 ahead of the Mexican Grand Prix, particularly with all the engine-related issues the sister Scuderia Toro Rosso team are having this weekend.

Both Pierre Gasly and Brendon Hartley from Toro Rosso have experience issues with their Renault engines, and with Ricciardo’s own Tag Heuer-badged Renault engine already heading towards the end of its life, Red Bull could change his power unit and incur grid penalties so to avoid any penalties in the Brazilian Grand Prix in two weeks time, particularly as the Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace likely to suit the RB13 more than the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez will this weekend.

“The problems Toro Rosso has had this weekend, there’s some doubts with what we’ve got at the moment,” said Ricciardo on Motorsport.com.

“This weekend, this engine is towards the end of its life and this track with the altitude and that, it works them a lot harder. We knew there would be a bit of a risk here, but for sure there’s been quite a few failures this weekend so far.

“From that point of view as well we’re trying to weigh up whether we take the risk and just run the race and risk something happening or we do take a penalty and then that way we probably escape a penalty in Brazil. These are the things we are trying to weigh up now.”

Ricciardo admits that thoughts of an engine change and penalty would not be taking place had he had a better qualifying session in Mexico on Saturday, but with the Australian only qualifying seventh, almost a second off the pace of polesitter Sebastian Vettel, there is now a possibility of his engine being switched ahead of the race.

“If we were starting on the front row, I don’t think we’d be talking about this but that’s the way it’s going,” added the Australian.

“I don’t like conceding, I’d love to get stuck in and race, so for sure my heart would want to race and try and move forward. But I’ve also got to take the emotion out of it and think with my head.

“If I look at Brazil, we’re probably better to take a penalty here. It’s a tough one. We’ve got a little bit of time to figure it out but for sure tonight we’re going to decide.”