HOCKENHEIM, Germany (AP) — Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo’s hopes of winning the German Grand Prix have been rocked by a grid penalty for using too many engine parts.
The Australian driver, who has won twice this season, will start Sunday’s race at Hockenheim from the back of the grid.
He had to make multiple changes to the hybrid system, the energy store and the electronics unit for a combined total of 20 grid positions.
Drivers are allowed to use two of each specific engine part during the season before incurring penalties, but this is the third time Ricciardo is using each individual element.
With Ricciardo starting last, Red Bull could take the opportunity to make further engine element changes ahead of the race.
Red Bull’s decision to make the changes here appears to be with a view to avoiding penalties at next weekend’s Hungarian GP. The tight and sinewy Hungaroring is considered one of the tracks most suited to Red Bull because of its lack of overtaking.
Ricciardo is fourth in the standings, but he could likely be overtaken by Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas (two points behind) and by Red Bull teammate Max Verstappen (13 points behind in sixth place).
Formula One’s “Flying Finn” is going back home for the first time.
More precisely, Valtteri Bottas is returning to his Finland homeland to compete in his first career rally race in the Finnish Rally Championship season opener.
Bottas, teammates on the F1 Mercedes team with five-time champ Lewis Hamilton, will compete in the World Rally Championships’ Arctic Lapland Rally from January 24-26.
He’ll team with two-time World Rally champion Timo Rautiainen in a M-Sport Ford Fiesta RS WRC on rally roads of the Finnish Arctic Circle.
“This is a unique opportunity to take a peek into the world of rallying,” Bottas told Finnish rallying website Rallism.f1. “I would like to thank everyone who has made it possible.
“It’s totally new territory for me too, as I have no prior experience of a World Rally Car. Still, being the race car driver that I am, you always go flat out whatever the vehicle you’re driving in.”
Added Rautiainen, “In my life, I’ve sat in a rally car with only three drivers, but this is such an interesting mission that I just had to accept the challenge. I believe that for a talented wheelman like Valtteri, we’ll be able to establish a good basic driving routine in testing.”