Red Bull is bracing for a rough weekend in Sochi as it is set to take grid penalties for Sunday's race. The energy drink squad opted to fit Renault's 'C spec' engine to its cars for the Singapore Grand Prix, despite it not being used by either Renault or McLaren.
Renault admitted that while the new engine brought extra pace, it sacrificed reliability. The engine suffered from a number of issues throughout the weekend, however it held together for Max Verstappen during the race and powered him to a P2 finish.
But the team has opted to switch back to the previous specification of engine despite the strong result. This will mean a grid drop for both of its drivers, as it continues to climb above the allocated three engines per season limit.
“We’ve got the previous specification going in for the next race, so Sochi is going to be a tough weekend for us,” said Red Bull team boss Christian Horner. "We accepted the risks when we took this [Spec C] engine. It has delivered a bit more power and it has been a bit rough around the edges.
“I think the [Red Bull mechanics] actually did a good job to tidy it up as best they could on the mapping within their parameters. With more time and more optimisation, it would only be better.”
Horner added that the team would give the 'C spec' engine another chance in Japan following Russia. Red Bull isn't expecting to be as competitive as Mercedes and Ferrari in Sochi, stating that it can only realistically win at Mexico in the remaining six races.
Bahrain International Circuit - Winter testing