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Engine issues, grid penalties stack up for Toro Rosso at Interlagos

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Toro Rosso’s hopes of improving its recent form in Formula 1 took a major hit on Friday during practice for the Brazilian Grand Prix as both Pierre Gasly and Brendon Hartley were sidelined by engine issues during the day.

The FIA confirmed on Friday that Gasly and Hartley would both have to serve 10-place grid penalties after taking new elements for their Renault power units following failures in Mexico.

To add insult to injury, Hartley’s car ground to a halt after he’d completed just two laps, leaving the New Zealander stranded in the infield until the end of the session.

Gasly suffered an MGU-H failure on his power unit that meant he could manage just five laps in total in FP1, as well as triggering an additional 15-place grid penalty to take his total drop to 25 at Interlagos.

“This morning, of course, was not great for us with the engine issue. I had only one timed lap and Brendon none, so we didn’t learn much – for me about the track and for the rest of the team about the car and setup,” Hartley said.

“It wasn’t ideal. I managed to do many laps in FP2 which was good (54 total), a short run on softs and super softs, and then long runs on the second part of the session so I think it was really good.

“We finally could seize the potential of the car and work towards qualifying and the race on Sunday. At least we have many things to analyze tonight and to work and improve on for tomorrow.”

Toro Rosso chief race engineer Jonathan Eddolls added: “Obviously it was a very difficult FP1 for the team again, we came in knowing we would need to take some engine penalties for MGU-Hs, which we did.

“Unfortunately, the new MGU-H on Pierre’s car failed early on while the issue on the other car looked more catastrophic than it was. It was something quite simple in the engine, where it smoked badly which everyone saw but we were able to fix it with no further issues.

“Both cars went out pretty much at the start of FP2, so the mechanics did a fantastic job, given there was a complete engine swap on one and an engine strip and rebuild on the other, so really well done to get them out.”

Toro Rosso has scored just one point in the last three races, courtesy of the now-dropped Daniil Kvyat at the United States Grand Prix.

Eriksson snatches Macau Formula 3 pole from Norris

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Joel Eriksson snatched pole position for Saturday’s qualifying race ahead of the Macau Grand Prix after a thrilling fight with McLaren youngster Lando Norris and Ferrari junior Callum Ilott.

Norris headed into the second stage of qualifying on provisional pole after lapping almost a second faster than any other driver in Thursday’s first opening session, and remained in contention early in Q2.

Norris was the first driver to dip into the 2:10s with a time of 2:10.744, only for Eriksson to go 0.024 seconds faster minutes later and snatch pole away.

Despite a later effort to try and reclaim pole, Norris was unable to improve his time, and opted to remain in the pits for the final five minutes of the session after using up his allocated tires.

Ilott was the final driver to put in a serious bid for pole position, falling 0.09 seconds short with his final qualifying lap to sit third on the grid for the qualifying race.

Maximilian Gunther claimed fourth place for Prema Powerteam ahead of Ferdinand Habsburg and Dan Ticktum, with Mick Schumacher taking P7.

Yuhi Sekiguchi wound up eighth despite a late crash that brought out a red flag, while Sergio Sette Camara and Guanyu Zhou completed the top 10 positions in qualifying.

Saturday’s qualifying race will help form the grid for Sunday’s main event, the 64th Macau Grand Prix.