Perez set for grid penalty after engine change in Abu Dhabi GP

Sergio Perez will take a grid penalty for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix after Racing Point elected to change his Mercedes power unit for the Formula 1 season finale.

The Mexican had admitted that the engine that took him to victory in the Sakhir GP last weekend was getting towards the end of its life, and was already suffering from being down on power.

But amid concerns that the power unit may not have enough mileage left to safely get through the Yas Marina weekend, Racing Point has bit the bullet and fitted brand new main elements.

The switch to a new internal combustion engine, turbo chargers and MGU-H will push him to the back of the grid.

However, having a fresh engine will allow Perez to run it to its maximum settings all weekend as he will not have to worry about it lasting after the weekend.

The Perez situation will be good news to Racing Point’s rival McLaren that is locked in a tight fight for third place in the constructors’ championship.

Racing Point currently has a 10-point advantage ahead of the season finale, but will need both cars in the points to have a good chance of keeping its Woking-based rival at bay.

While Perez’s grid drop will be a blow to his hopes of finishing his season on a high, he is well aware that his triumph in Bahrain last weekend came after he dropped to the back of the field on the opening lap.

The Mexican said that it was the first time he recalled since his karting days of pulling off that feat.

“Last time I did it was my karting track,” he said. “We do some racing with friends every Wednesday night, and I started last and I won the race. So that’s the first one that I remember.

“I will have to look back at it but in a normal category. I haven’t achieved that one in F1.”

Haas driver Kevin Magnussen has also taken some new power unit components in his final race for the team.

Magnussen will take a new energy store and control electronics, which will also move him to the back row of the grid.

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