Racing Point Formula 1 driver Sergio Perez has concerns about the state of his engine after encountering an issue late on in second practice for the Belgian Grand Prix.

Perez pulled over to the side of the track at the exit of Bruxelles corner with smoke pouring out of the rear of his RP19 machine with just minutes left on the clock in FP2.

The Mexican said the Silverstone-based squad is yet to determine the exact problem, but admits it is “not looking too optimistic.”

The engine-related problem not only comes as a blow for Racing Point but will also act as a worry for Mercedes, which has introduced its latest engine upgrade at Spa.

Asked what the problem was, Perez replied: “We don’t know at the moment, we’ll just have to wait and see.

“It doesn’t look good - we’ll see what’s going to happen and what we have to do in order to get it back in qualifying.

“The car is performing well so hopefully we can minimise the damage, If there is any. We’ll find out later on.”

Perez had enjoyed a strong showing for Racing Point until his late stoppage and ended up fifth-quickest in FP2.

“I think historically it’s been a circuit that suits us,” he explained.

“We’ve brought a front wing and new things that suit us, we’ve brought a front wing and a couple of new pieces that I think is helping the whole balance of the car. We found a good balance today and things are looking very solid.

“In that regard I’m positive, things are looking strong for us so hopefully in the end we don’t have to do too much. There’s still a lot of work to do.

“It’s getting there, step-by-step so yeah it’s looking promising, so hopefully we can be strong tomorrow when everybody puts it together.”

Teammate Lance Stroll, who ended up inside the top 10 in both practice sessions, also experienced problems in FP2 as he reported an overheating issue inside his cockpit.

He revealed the cause, saying: “It was a little box, one of those little FOM boxes behind the seat that was unusually hot.”

Stroll will start from the rear of the grid after exceeding multiple power unit elements due to taking on the upgraded Mercedes engine.

“It’s a bummer but at least you can overtake, I got a good feel for the car in the long run so I’m happy, bummer about the penalty but we’ll be able to overtake for sure,” he said.

“I think we’re going to be taking a big hit regardless of what we do, we’ll still do what we can in qualifying but the big focus is going to be on the race and getting as many overtakes done in the race.”

 

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