Red Bull to ‘wait for qualy’ to make engine call

Michelle Foster
Max Verstappen Red Bull helmet. Italy September 2021

Red Bull driver Max Verstappen looking down in his Red Bull branded helmet. Italy September 2021

Red Bull will wait until qualifying for the Russian GP to make a call about changing Max Verstappen’s PU, and sending him to the back of the grid.

Verstappen arrives at the Sochi Autodrom for round 15 of the championship already facing a three-place grid penalty.

The Dutchman was handed the penalty after colliding with Lewis Hamilton at the Italian Grand Prix, a crash that he still says was a “racing incident”.

But whatever his view of the incident, he has a penalty and could yet have another with Helmut Marko confirming that Red Bull are considering putting Verstappen onto his fourth PU in Russia.

The Dutchman moved onto his Hungary, forced to make the change after Honda discovered a crack in his second engine, a crack that they say was caused by his British GP collision with Hamilton.

Red Bull will only make the call on Saturday says Marko.

“We are limited on the engine side,” the Red Bull advisor said to RTL.

“We have to replace the engine somewhere in the coming races, because of the damage to the Silverstone engine.

“We will wait for qualifying, we’ll wait for the weather, and then we’ll make a decision.”

This weekend Formula 1 is in for a wet one with rain forecast throughout Saturday’s action while on Sunday there is an 80 percent chance of heavy showers.

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Marko concedes Red Bull’s decision will be based on whether or not they believe Verstappen can fight his way back through the field and score points.

The Dutchman is presently leading the championship by five points over Hamilton but Sochi is a circuit where Mercedes have dominated.

While the Brackley squad is chasing its eighth successive Russian Grand Prix, last time out in 2020 Verstappen secured Red Bull’s first-ever podium at the circuit.


Marko added: “It depends on the overall picture of the possibility for overtaking and scoring points, especially if we start from the very back.”

Should Verstappen take an engine penalty, he won’t be the only driver doing so this weekend.

Already Ferrari have announced that Charles Leclerc will be taking a fourth engine in Russia, putting the Monégasque driver on the back row of the grid.

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