Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Spa-Francorchamps, 2019

Red Bull and Toro Rosso drivers to take grid penalties

2019 Russian Grand Prix

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Honda has announced it will introduce a new specification of engine this weekend, meaning all four of its drivers will incur grid penalties.

The Japanese engine manufacturer is running its new V6s for the first time ahead of its home race at Suzuka in two weeks’ time.

All four Honda-powered drivers have already exceeded their maximum allocation of power unit parts. Therefore Max Verstappen, Alexander Albon and Pierre Gasly will each have a five-place grid penalty.

The situation is worse for Daniil Kvyat, who is having more power unit parts replaced and will have to start from the back of the grid as a result. As well as a new engine, Kvyat will have a fresh turbocharger, MGU-H, MGU-K and control electronics.

2019 power unit parts used prior to the Russian Grand Prix

No.CarEngineDriverICETCMGU-HMGU-KESCE
10Toro RossoHondaPierre Gasly655533
27RenaultRenaultNico Hulkenberg644323
26Toro RossoHondaDaniil Kvyat555433
55McLarenRenaultCarlos Sainz Jnr544443
3RenaultRenaultDaniel Ricciardo544434
4McLarenRenaultLando Norris444444
99Alfa RomeoFerrariAntonio Giovinazzi444224
23Red BullHondaAlexander Albon444333
33Red BullHondaMax Verstappen444333
11Racing PointMercedesSergio Perez444311
18Racing PointMercedesLance Stroll444211
7Alfa RomeoFerrariKimi Raikkonen433223
63WilliamsMercedesGeorge Russell333233
20HaasFerrariKevin Magnussen333223
5FerrariFerrariSebastian Vettel333223
8HaasFerrariRomain Grosjean333222
77MercedesMercedesValtteri Bottas333222
44MercedesMercedesLewis Hamilton333222
16FerrariFerrariCharles Leclerc333222
31WilliamsMercedesRobert Kubica333211

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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12 comments on “Red Bull and Toro Rosso drivers to take grid penalties”

  1. Honda and Renault are a joke reliability-wise. Even after all these years.
    At least Honda learnt how to improve performance.

    1. I have seen some nice Mercedes engine blow-ups in Belgium :-)

    2. Tbh the Renault has stronger acceleration out of slow/mid speed corners… there was a side by side comparison of Norris and Verstappen or Gasly of the qualifying laps in Hungary. The mclaren consistently gained on the straights by quite a margin.

      I’d put them on equal performance but with different strengths

    3. Have any of the Hondas actually died on their own? This is a byproduct of their rapid development and taking engine penalties to be able to continue to push the engines was always the plan.

      1. @repete86, it’s not entirely clear whether they’ve had an engine fail during a race as there is some ambiguity over what exactly happened to Kvyat’s engine in the Italian Grand Prix.

        We know he pulled off to the side of the track with a loss of power due to an oil leak, but it’s not entirely clear where that oil was leaking from (i.e. if it was from the engine itself, or from one of the ancillaries) and whether that was enough to cause terminal damage to his engine. The fact that this engine change has been planned for some time makes it hard to tell whether Kvyat’s change is purely strategic, or whether it is enforced due to what happened in Monza.

        Before that, Honda had not had any failures during a race, although there is the caveat that you note that, with the development programme Honda and Red Bull had for this year, they had intended to take engine penalties to push out updates at greater frequency.

        To some extent, it does seem that Red Bull and Honda have taken advantage of that – we’ve had the indication that Honda allowed Verstappen to sacrifice his engine life in return for winning the Austrian GP and trying to win the Hungarian GP, for example, which had knock on effects later in the season. There might even be a deliberate tactic there to run their engines harder, knowing they will deliberately take penalties, in the hope they can either force their rivals to have to take additional damage to their engines if they’re pushed outside of their normal operating modes, or push them harder knowing they can’t afford to turn their engines up as far.

        There was also a strong implication that they would have to take a penalty before the Japanese GP as Honda want the strongest possible race at Suzuka (not just because it is their home country, but because it is their own personal track), and they are likely to be using up a lot of its potential performance in Suzuka.

        Overall, though, I believe Honda have done respectably enough in terms of engine life, as I believe they’ve had engine units that have lasted five races – not quite the full complement of seven races, but certainly respectable enough.

    4. It’s not about reliability, Honda seems to be preparing for Suzuka and RedBull know that Sochi is not their track anyway. So why not get a 5 place grid penalty here and stock up for other circuits that suit them better, like COTA, Mexico or even Interlagos.

  2. So basically Honda is in full preparation mode before home race in Suzuka.

  3. Why are all the parts being replaced on Kvyats car? for two races in a row I heard the problem was in the cooling system. He already had all the new parts installed in Spa. Last race he drove on the ancient spec. So, those Spa parts were barely used. Why change all? Why only him?

    1. I think they just replace them all because they expect to be starting at the back anyway and they can afford it

  4. And stocking reserve parts so this is even a other new spec engine? Honda really pump them out now.

  5. Since the grid-penalty drop is only five places for the RBR-drivers, they should run the qualifying session in the usual pattern, and try and achieve the best possible result to get a higher starting-position for the race.

  6. I am just noticed the Robert Kubica’s Williams has only use one CE and one ES so far since the first race of the season with 6 more races to go.
    Maybe Mercedes use their car as experiment to see how long this parts will last.

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