Daniel Ricciardo will have to take grid penalties at Monza next weekend when he becomes the first driver to take advantage of Renault’s new Spec C power unit.
The Australian has known for some weeks that penalties were inevitable, and Red Bull has chosen to take the hit at Monza to coincide with the availability of the upgrade.
If the Spec C works well in Ricciardo’s car, Max Verstappen may also be given new power unit elements later in the weekend.
It’s not yet clear which elements the Dutchman would take, but he can use a V6 and MGU-H without penalty. Any other changes would sent Verstappen down the grid.
The Renault works team has opted not to use the latest upgrade, and both Nico Hulkenberg and Carlos Sainz took new examples of the current Spec B at Spa last weekend.
Renault Sport boss Cyril Abiteboul has acknowledged that there are reliability risks associated with the Spec C, and admits that the Enstone team can’t afford to take them as it tries to hang on to fourth place in the world championship.
However, Red Bull has less to lose and is willing to take a punt as it searches for more performance.
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