Jul.1 (GMM) Sebastian Vettel’s Austrian GP campaign has taken an early hit as he will drop five places down the grid due to a gearbox change.
Reports indicate metal debris was detected inside the unit and will be changed, with a Ferrari spokesman confirming the news.
“I called Sebastian to tell him and he said ‘Oh crap’,” said Ferrari team boss Maurizio Arrivabene to La Gazzetta dello Sport.
The better news for Ferrari is that it has reportedly taken an engine upgrade to Austria, costing one FIA token and giving a 10 horse power boost, according to Auto Motor und Sport.
“We do not have the best car or the best engine, but we know our weaknesses and we’re working on it,” said Vettel.
“I am convinced that we will be much closer to Mercedes in Austria than we were in Baku. As close as in Montreal or perhaps even closer.”
It also emerges in Austria that world champion Lewis Hamilton is braced for a similar penalty setback, as he moves to some of his final engine components for the season.
“I am starting with my last engine this weekend and will have at least one race where I will start dead last — and most likely two,” said the Mercedes driver.
“The worst thing is I am the only Mercedes driver to have that,” Hamilton added.
Also at the Red Bull Ring, a debate is raging about the current tight restrictions on pit-to-driver radio instructions, after Hamilton ran into trouble in Baku and called for a rules rethink.
But his teammate and championship leader Nico Rosberg said he doesn’t support that call.
“The fans were complaining that we were puppets, which is why the rule changed,” said the German. “They (the rules) are ok the way they are now.”