22 August 2014
F1 Belgian Grand Prix: Vettel admits engine penalties ‘inevitable’
Sebastian Vettel has conceded that it's not a question of whether he will suffer penalties for using extra engines in F1 2014, but how many.
Sebastian Vettel was forced to miss much of the opening day of the Belgian Grand Prix meeting at Spa-Francorchamps after running into technical issues with his Red Bull, but to rub salt into the wound, admitted that it already accepted that he would be exceeding the engine limit for 2014.
Each driver is allowed a maximum of five of the new-specification V6 powerplants without penalty, but a complicated formula breaks down the component parts of the all-new powertrain and exceeding the limits on any individual listed component brings about punishment in terms of grid position for ensuing races. The Renault-powered runners, such as Red Bull, have struggled for reliability since the start of the year, and Vettel accepts that penalties will certainly be served on the #1 machine before Abu Dhabi.
“We're going to have to pull an extra engine anyway so whether we can live on six, or got to seven, depends on this engine today,” he conceded, having surveyed his RB10 in near component form during FP2, “It's inevitable that we can't go through the second part of the season without penalty. It was already clear that we'd have to take another one before today, but the question is how many we will need.
“It was a new engine, so hopefully the engine is not damaged. That's why we didn't run [this afternoon], so we could check up on it. If it is [damaged], we'll have to get another one out, not necessarily for this weekend, but at some weekend in the future.”
Asked how much of a setback missing the whole of FP2 would be, the four-time world champion acknowledged that it wasn't ideal, particularly at a venue as testing as Spa.
“It didn't help not to collect any experience today as I didn't drive much this morning either,” he noted, “Other than that, we saw that it's not the best circuit for us as we lack speed down the straights - and they're quite long straights here.
“We'll see what we can do tomorrow, [but] there's a lot of boxes to be ticked in general and it's important to get your eye in around here. Every year is different here, and it's a very long lap. There's a lot of high speed corners and it's important to have a rhythm whereas, at a slower track, it's easier.”
In Vettel's absence, RBR team-mate Daniel Ricciardo worked his way into eighth place on the timesheets, but was fully 1.8secs off the pace set by Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton.
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