Vettel set for US Grand Prix grid penalties for engine change in Austin
Sebastian Vettel will start the United States Grand Prix on the back foot, after revealing that his Aston Martin team planned to equip him with a new engine for the event at the Circuit of The Americas.
2013 United States Grand Prix winner Vettel was asked ahead of the COTA race how he expected his weekend to go – with the four-time champion choosing to reveal the power unit switch planned for his Aston Martin AMR21.
“I think we are heading into, let’s say, a difficult weekend,” said Vettel. “We are changing the engine and therefore we will have a penalty. But I think we will see what we can do from where we start. Nevertheless, looking forward I think we can be strong here. How strong, we will see.”
Vettel didn’t go into detail about which elements of the power unit he would change, but taking a fourth Mercedes internal combustion engine would trigger a 10-place grid drop, while the same penalty would be meted out again for each subsequent violation should Vettel take a fourth turbocharger, MGU-H or MGU-K, or a third energy store or control electronics unit.
Despite that, Vettel remained hopeful that he could “get back in the mix” at an Austin track where overtaking is possible – the German driver not having scored points now since the Belgian Grand Prix back in August – adding that the Circuit of The Americas was one of his favourite modern tracks in F1.
“Yes, you can [overtake] so I think it is a good place to do [the engine change] and hopefully we will have an entertaining Sunday afternoon and get back in the mix,” said Vettel.
“This [track] definitely is [nice to drive],” he added. “The first section with the hill, you climb up and then you have the fast esses. It’s a good mix, slow parts, fast parts and you just enjoy it; you are happy after a lap to do another one.”