Red Bull change elements of Max’s PU after power loss

Michelle Foster
Max Verstappen climbs out of his RB18 in parc ferme. Hungary July 2022

Red Bull driver Max Verstappen climbs out of his RB18 in parc ferme. Hungary July 2022

Red Bull changed elements of Max Verstappen’s power unit on Sunday morning, but the driver won’t be penalised due to a rule change that came into effect earlier in the season.

Verstappen recorded his worst qualifying showing of this season at the Hungaroring on Saturday, the reigning World Champion down in 10th place.

A lock up on his first run in Q3 left him in seventh, Verstappen telling Red Bull: “Front end and rear grip very bad.”

Heading out for a second run his problems went from bad to worse as he reported “no power”, the driver falling to 10th.

Red Bull motorsport advisor Helmut Marko revealed on Saturday evening that the team may have to change elements of his engine, but said it would be done “without penalty”.

“In the first run, he mis-braked and his front tyres suffered as a result. In the second run, he didn’t have the full engine power available,” the Red Bull advisor told Sky Germany.

“We think we know what it is. The exchange of this part is possible without penalty.”

Last month Formula 1 agreed a rule change under which teams would be allowed to replace the engine with a new specification between qualifying and the race. All this must be done within the parc fermé rules.

Previously this would have resulted in a pit lane start.

Red Bull made those changes on Sunday morning – new engine, turbo, MGU-H and MGU-K – while also working on the reigning World Champion’s DRS.

All the parts were within Verstappen’s allotment for the season.

Sergio Perez also took a new ICE, MGU-H, MGU-K, Turbo and exhaust, all without penalty. For Pierre Gasly, though, those parts meant a back-of-the-grid start.

Verstappen starts 10th on the grid, however, being the Hungaroring Marko is concerned that it will be difficult for the driver to overtake at the circuit.

“Singapore, Monte Carlo and here in Hungary – these are the three tracks where you wouldn’t wish for something like that. We need a lot of luck in the race,” the 79-year-old said.

But on a day when it seemed a lot was going against Red Bull, Marko did find one positive in that George Russell out-qualified the Ferrari drivers.

“Of course that’s positive for us, because he’s in front of the Ferraris,” he said.

He added: “We will fight and see that we can get the maximum out of it.”

Former F1 driver turned pundit Ralf Schumacher says he understands Verstappen’s frustrations in qualifying.

“It must have been a known problem that still hasn’t been addressed,” he said. “It’s extremely annoying because he knows there won’t be much in there from behind.

“Maybe the strategy can help him a bit.

“But sometimes it’s just better to leave your helmet on and let off steam inside where nobody can hear you win and lose together, but the situation is definitely bad for Red Bull.”

Verstappen will line up on the Hungaroring grid with a 63-point advantage in the Drivers’ standings.


Looking ahead to the Hungarian Grand Prix

The Hungarian Grand Prix is the final race before Formula 1's summer break.