Ricciardo grid penalty rises further

Daniel Ricciardo

Daniel Ricciardo’s Italian Grand Prix grid penalty now stands at 25 after a gearbox change.

Ricciardo was already set for a 20-position penalty due to taking on a fifth internal combustion engine, fifth turbocharger, and sixth MGU-H.

Red Bull Racing had opted to make the changes in Italy in order to incur the penalties before Singapore, where they expect to be more competitive.

The team informed the FIA of its intention to change Ricciardo’s gearbox on Wednesday morning.

That puts him in breach of rules that dictate gearboxes must last six consecutive events.

The only exceptions to these rules, for which a five-place grid penalty applies for a breach, are for non-starters and non-finishers (for technical reasons) of the previous race, neither of which apply to Ricciardo.

Given Ricciardo already had a sizeable penalty for engine changes, the impact of a further drop for a gearbox change is minimal.

It is his third gearbox change of the season, after Red Bull was forced to change the unit ahead of the opening race of the season in Australia and ahead of July’s British Grand Prix.

Ricciardo admitted he was keen hit the track early in first practice to ensure he was the best-placed of the drivers who had engine component change penalties.

The stewards said the order in which Ricciardo, Max Verstappen, Carlos Sainz Jr and Fernando Alonso had incurred for engine changes would be applied to the starting grid based on which cars left the pits first in FP1.

Ricciardo was the first of the four to do so.

“It was just to get on track first, it was a little bit of cuteness, let’s say, for other reasons – I think reasons probably well known,” said Ricciardo.

“If someone had the equivalent penalty to me, they would start behind me so we’re just being one step ahead of the game.”

Ricciardo had finished sixth-fastest in Friday practice.

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