Tue. Sep 28th, 2021

Last week Honda boss Toyoharu Tanabe announced that the second engine of Max Verstappen was damaged after the crash at Silverstone. After qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix it appeared that the engine even needed to be replaced, which meant that he already had to use his third engine, halfway through the season.

Max Verstappen had a margin on the maximum allowed until the Hungarian Grand Prix. He was working on his second engine and had not yet replaced his ES and CE. Prior to qualifying Red Bull Racing decided to replace the ES, but after qualifying, Honda found out about the crack in the engine.

As a result, the ICE, TC, MGU-H and MGU-K of the Dutchman had to be replaced. That change means Verstappen is at the limit of the engines he can use before incurring grid penalties. The second engine is currently in Japan to investigate whether repairs are possible. For Red Bull it would be beneficial if they could use the second engine as well, otherwise grid penalties seem unavoidable.

If repair is not an option, Red Bull will have to investigate which circuit is the most favourable for a grid penalty and where overtaking is possible. A quick glance at the calendar shows that Spa and Monza are the best options. Zandvoort will be out of the question for Red Bull and Verstappen, as overtaking is not easy here.

At Monza, the sprint format will be tested again, which would be an option for Red Bull to collect points on Saturday, as the grid penalty will only be introduced on Sunday for the real Grand Prix. Verstappen is not the only one with concerns about the engine and grid penalties. Earlier on, Ferrari also announced that they will almost certainly incur grid penalties due to the starting crash in Hungary.

In the battle for the championship, it will also be important for Red Bull to avoid grid penalties at the right race. Mercedes are still on their second engine and don’t seem to be having any major problems with reliability. It will become clear after the break whether Verstappen will receive any grid penalties this year.

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