LONDON (Reuters) – Red Bull’s Australian Daniel Ricciardo is set to collect a grid penalty for Sunday’s Italian Formula One Grand Prix for the second year running because of engine changes.
“I’ve done some of my best overtaking moves there and I plan on doing plenty more this week as it looks likely that I will be taking some engine penalties,” he said in a team preview of the race at Monza.
“It’s obviously not ideal but Monza is a power track and one that we haven’t been hugely strong at in recent years. It does mean plenty of action and fun for me in the race though.”
Ricciardo, who is joining Renault at the end of the season, finished fourth at Monza last year after qualifying third but starting 16th on the grid after engine and gearbox penalties were applied.
He was named Driver of the Day after also setting the fastest lap.
“It won’t be boring if I have to do the same again this year,” said the Australian, who retired from last Sunday’s Belgian Grand Prix and is sixth in the championship and behind Dutch team mate Max Verstappen.
The 29-year-old, who has Italian roots, has won twice this season in China and Monaco.
Drivers are penalised if they exceed their engine allocations for the season and Red Bull are set to do that for strategic reasons this weekend by opting for an upgrade that provider Renault has made available for those who want it.
Red Bull would rather take the hit at high-speed Monza, a flat-out track where overtaking is easier, than at the Singapore street circuit that follows and where the team expect to be more competitive.
“We’re going to try and get ourselves into the best situation we can going to Singapore, which is probably our next chance of being able to give Ferrari and Mercedes a harder time,” said team boss Christian Horner.
(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Ed Osmond)