Honda admits that Max Verstappen’s engine failure at the start of the Tuscan Grand Prix was ‘not small’ and the biggest impact that saw him pull out of the race was ‘a very bad situation’ after Verstappen had a good launch at the start of the race and later on lost power and fell back to the midfield by the first turn.
He turned onto his rear around the first turn Chicane as 3 cars followed the RB16 and later slid off to the gravel as he ranted over the radio. The Red Bull driver was well aware that he would be retiring from the race due to the technical problem as Honda F1 technical director Toyoharu Tanabe said the peroblem occured because something went wrong in the formation lap and then escalated itself in a very bad way at the start of the race at Mugello.
This was not new to Verstappen as he had also retired from the race a week earlier during the Italian Grand Prix, but his suggestion was that a completely different caused the Mugello race retire.
“We’re now investigating the cause of the issue,” Toyoharu Tanabe said.
“At the moment I cannot tell you if we could continue, or we had to retire, But the issue is not small. The impact was big. So, it was a very bad situation.”
Honda will be conducting the physical examination of the RB16 engine itself while the R&D department in Sakura Japan will be analysing the race statistics. Tanabe also added that they have not put a plan to recorrect the problem as they have to first assess the cause and the damage that has been done.
Verstappen’s car has spare engine components to switch to if Honda resolves to introduce another engine for the next race in Russia he will not be incurring a grid penalty.
A second race retirement has been slowing Verstappen’s top 3 lead in the drivers’ standings but however Redbull continued to show its dominance in the podium streaks. Alexander albon in the sister RB16 was able to finish third in the Mugello race, being his maiden podium finish. This shows the Honda-powered car is still strong as the car has achieved top three finishes in the 2020 season apart from the season opener.