Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo could have his work cut out for him at this weekend’s German Grand Prix. But it isn’t all doom and gloom for the Australian, as the pain is only temporary. The main aim is to give him a chance of being on the top step of the podium in Hungary.
The Australian could be saddled with a grid penalty for new engine components for Sunday’s race at Hockenheim. He took on a new internal combustion engine and turbocharger for Canada.
As a result, he will earn a 10 grid-place penalty once he uses a fourth ICE or turbocharger. Red Bull have identified the German event as the best place to take the fall.
“In Hockenheim you can overtake, so we will probably install the new engine there,” Ricciardo said.
Along with the ICE and turbocharger, Ricciardo is also running on his third and final MGU-H. If Red Bull replaces all three with new units, he will start from the back of the grid.
Even though it will be frustrating to start from the rear, Red Bull have their reasons. Since Mercedes and Ferrari have the edge in Hockenheim, it is better of that way. The same can’t be said in Hungary a week later, where Red Bull are bound to be strong.
“We would want to avoid (incurring a penalty for) Hungary,” he said.
“Hungary is a key opportunity for us as it’s a low power dependent circuit to hopefully be in contention for a win.”
With faster, higher-downforce cars, Pirelli has no direct data from Hockenheim so every driver is heading into the unknown. Especially since its current spec tyres are wider and have different compounds compared to 2016.
“Germany is a bit of an unknown quantity, with no grand prix having taken place there since 2016,” said Pirelli’s head of car racing Mario Isola.
“The data collected in free practice will be especially important as teams re-acquaint themselves with the circuit and also work out how best to use the tyre nomination to their advantage.”