SAO PAULO — Daniel Ricciardo’s run of rotten bad luck is showing no sign of coming to an end any time soon.
The Australian driver will serve a grid penalty this weekend after Red Bull was forced to change the turbocharger in his Renault engine. It’s the sixth turbo he’s used this year, above the allotted amount in the regulations, meaning he will serve a five-place grid penalty for Sunday’s race, which will be applied after qualifying.
He had already exceeded the permitted amount of turbochargers allowed — the first time he did so was worth 10 places, but that now moves to five each time he takes a new one.
Ricciardo suffered a heartbreaking double retirement at the U.S.-Mexico double header while running in promising positions — he had taken pole position in Mexico City before the reliability issued occurred on Sunday. Since winning the Monaco Grand Prix in May he has not returned to the podium.
His most recent race retirement led to him labeling his car “cursed” after the race and joking that he saw no point finishing the season, comments he felt compelled to clarify ahead of the race in Sao Paulo. Red Bull is keen to see the Australian return to the podium in one of the remaining two races, his last for the team before he switches to Renault’s factory team for 2019.
During Thursday’s media day at Interlagos, Ricciardo was in better spirits than he had been the last time he was in the F1 paddock and said he has no other explanation for his recent run other than bad luck.
“I looked at the first six months of last year, Max seemed to have most if not all of it,” he said. “Then the last six months I seemed to have most or all of it. So last year it was spread out in a way between us, and this year certainly it is been more me.
“Max had the failure in Budapest and maybe somewhere else. But it certainly has been a lot more top heavy for me this year. I don’t really have any explanation. It sounds really simple and silly, but bad luck really is the best term I can use.
“All the team still like me, so no one has it in for me! It has just been the way it has worked this year. So, I’ll keep trying. I know Sunday afternoons I am pretty pissed and animated, but honestly, I wake up Monday and am ready to go again. So it does not last too long.”
Ricciardo has retired from eight races this season. He has also started from the back row of the grid twice since August — in Italy and Russia — due to engine-related penalties.