‘Flexible’ Red Bull open to taking penalties at Spa

Jamie Woodhouse
Sergio Perez driving for Red Bull in FP1 at the Belgian GP. August, 2021.

Sergio Perez [Red Bull] taking part in Friday practice at the Belgian Grand Prix. August 2021.

Red Bull boss Christian Horner hinted that the team could choose to take their engine penalties at the Belgian Grand Prix.

Heavy shunts at the British and Hungarian GPs cost the team not only points, but also engines.

Max Verstappen’s engine could not be salvaged after he was wiped out by Lewis Hamilton on Lap 1 at Silverstone, while Sergio Perez’s power unit was ruined in the first-lap crash in Hungary triggered by Valtteri Bottas.

Another 12 races are expected this season, and both Verstappen and Perez are now on their third permitted engine of the season.

Red Bull, then, are almost certainly looking at taking a grid drop for using a fourth unit.

“We will have to take penalties later in the year,” Horner confirmed to Sky Sports F1.

“It’s a question of when, strategically, do we take those. We will wait to see what the calendar evolution looks like as well.

“But you have got to pick your moments strategically. Do we do it early? Or a bit later? Or pick a time when maybe you have a bad session.”

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If Red Bull want to limit the damage from a grid penalty, then the best strategy is to take it at a track where overtaking is easier.

Spa-Francorchamps, host of the Belgian Grand Prix, certainly fits that bill, and so Horner said that the current race weekend is an option for taking these penalties.

“It is a good track to take penalties at,” Horner said when asked if Spa is a good track to take penalties at.

“It’s an open circuit and you can overtake here but at the same time, if you have qualified well do you want to be in the mist and spray…we saw the danger of being in a damp race in Hungary.

“It is something we are constantly evaluating and constantly looking at. As long as you are flexible with it, then the right opportunity will present itself.”