Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has confirmed that Daniel Ricciardo's five-place grid penalty for the Brazilian Grand Prix had to be served after a marshal in Mexico sprayed fire extinguisher foam onto the turbocharger two weeks ago.
Ricciardo was forced to retire from the race after his car was hit with a clutch issue which prevented him from taking his first podium since Monaco. As the car was being pushed away, a marshal opted to use the fire extinguisher as the car was lightly smoking.
“You can’t really blame them, the car was obviously smoking,” Horner told Sky during the second free practice session in Brazil. “They shot foam up the exhaust and as it solidifies in the turbo it’s terminated it. So he’ll take a five-place penalty. Hopefully on a track like this it’s actually not that big a penalty.”
Max Verstappen's Friday afternoon session at Interlagos got off to a slow start as his mechanics had to work on his car. Horner stated that the issue was a crack in the oil tower, which the team suspect began to split in Mexico, where he took his fifth F1 victory.
“The oil tower on the front of the engine has developed a crack so it was starting to leak oil in [the first] session," Horner said. "So it’s had to be changed. The guys have done a great job in getting the engine off the back and back on, replacing the part. Hopefully no more than a half-hour delay.
“The lucky thing is we suspect that crack may have started in Mexico because there was a little bit of oil loss in the race that couldn’t be accounted for. So actually probably pretty lucky that it got to the end of the race,” the Briton added.
Bahrain International Circuit - Winter testing