Regardless of where he qualifies this afternoon, Esteban Ocon will start Sunday’s Brazilian Grand Prix five spots down the order as the result of a gearbox change on his Force India.
After Friday’s second free practice session, which Ocon concluded P10, the pink outfit decided the change the component as a precautionary measure.
As the gearbox had not yet reached its six-race limit, the swap entails a five-place grid penalty.
It’s definitely a set-back for the French driver who enjoyed a productive couple of sessions on Friday.
“Both sessions were straightforward for me – no issues on my side of the garage and we did a lot of laps,” said Ocon before learning of his demotion.
“It’s not an easy circuit to get everything right and there is still some work to do before qualifying.
“It’s those small details we need to work on to make me feel more comfortable. The target is definitely to reach Q3 tomorrow. In terms of the weather, I don’t mind if it’s wet or dry.”
In addition to Ocon, Daniel Ricciardo will also start his race five spots down from where he qualifies, his Red Bull crew mounting a sixth turbo on his Renault-powered RB14.