George Russell is set to take a gearbox penalty at the Mexican GP after suffering a problem with his transmission during practice.

Russell began his Friday with a high-mileage gearbox, but he ran into a problem straightaway. The team fitted his race unit for him instead of using it on Saturday. However, lightning struck twice for the Williams driver.

During FP2, the new gearbox malfunctioned, causing Russell to miss most of the practice session. It was deemed unfit for the rest of the weekend, leaving the team with no other choice.

As a result, Russell is set to take a gearbox penalty at the Mexican GP, and will drop five places on Sunday.

“Unusually, we encountered several gearbox issues today and have consequently had to take a new gearbox which will give us a grid penalty,” he said, as quoted by motorsport.com.

“It’s not ideal, but it’s Sunday where the points are awarded. FP1 on the other hand was a strong session for us.

Listen to George Russell on why he nearly moved to DTM, and the  life-changing phone call that got him into F1 | Formula 1®
Russell (pictured) will serve a penalty on Sunday. Source: formula1.com

“The car was feeling good, I found a decent rhythm and we showed some strong race pace. That race pace is going to be critical as the high altitude makes it really difficult for the cooling, for the brakes and for the power unit. If we’re on top of that then I think we can be on the front foot for the race.”

Issues to deal with

Williams Head of Vehicle Performance Dave Robson explained the problems at hand, and said that Russell and Nicholas Latifi both had issues.

“We’ve had some issues today that hampered the programme, especially in FP2,” Robson explained.

“We found an issue with George’s gearbox at the end of FP1 and so we opted to fit his race box for FP2. Unfortunately, this suffered with a different failure during the first run of FP2.

“We reduced the running on Nicholas’s car whilst we understood the problem and confirmed that he wouldn’t suffer the same issue. George will now take a new gearbox, which will leave him with a grid penalty on Sunday.

“This is frustrating, but at least it happened today rather than during the race,” he concluded.

Read more: Lagrue delivers unpopular opinion regarding Russell – “This might sound completely stupid”

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