Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Spa-Francorchamps, 2021

Verstappen at risk of penalty later in season as Honda take crashed power unit out of service

2021 Belgian Grand Prix

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Max Verstappen will be unable to use the engine which was damaged in his heavy British Grand Prix crash, Honda have confirmed.

The manufacturer originally gave Red Bull the all-clear to continue using Verstappen’s RA621H power unit, the second which had been fitted to his car this year, after he tested it in practice for the Hungarian Grand Prix. However, following further inspection it was replaced on the morning of the race.

Honda has now confirmed the engine cannot be used. It’s a further blow for Red Bull, who also lost the power unit which was in Sergio Perez’s car when he was involved in a first-lap crash at the last race.

Neither driver was considered responsible for the crashes. Verstappen was hit by Lewis Hamilton at Silverstone while Sergio Perez had contact with the other Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas at the Hungaroring.

Both Red Bull drivers are now unlikely to be able to complete the campaign without switching to a fourth power unit, which will mean an automatic grid penalty. This will cost them at least 10 places, likely more if multiple power unit elements have to be replaced.

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Power unit components used so far

31AlpineRenaultEsteban Ocon3333227
33Red BullHondaMax Verstappen3333125
55FerrariFerrariCarlos Sainz Jnr3332125
14AlpineRenaultFernando Alonso2232115
22AlphaTauriHondaYuki Tsunoda2222334
11Red BullHondaSergio Perez2222334
10AlphaTauriHondaPierre Gasly2223224
16FerrariFerrariCharles Leclerc2222124
9HaasFerrariNikita Mazepin2222124
7Alfa RomeoFerrariKimi Raikkonen2222124
99Alfa RomeoFerrariAntonio Giovinazzi2222124
47HaasFerrariMick Schumacher2222114
63WilliamsMercedesGeorge Russell3332223
5Aston MartinMercedesSebastian Vettel3332223
77MercedesMercedesValtteri Bottas2222222
4McLarenMercedesLando Norris2222222
3McLarenMercedesDaniel Ricciardo2222222
31WilliamsMercedesNicholas Latifi2222222
44MercedesMercedesLewis Hamilton2222222
18Aston MartinMercedesLance Stroll2222222

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2021 Belgian Grand Prix

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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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18 comments on “Verstappen at risk of penalty later in season as Honda take crashed power unit out of service”

  1. Maybe Pierre could earn a seat at Redbull by doing a “Bowling Bottas” on Hamilton…

    1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
      26th August 2021, 18:18

      lol, but is it worth it? With all the luck that folks claim Lewis has had this season, it’s far more likely Gasly’s car will ricochet off Lewis’s car and take out Max and Checo requiring 2 new chassis and 2 new engines;-) I’m sure Lewis will fall to the last position and 1 lap down and somehow win the race while Alonso holds him up for 60 laps…

      1. That really sums up the Lewis Hamilton kind of luck in F1 . I don’t remember exactly the race but it was in the V8 era, there was rain, everybody spinning, Force India having gone up the field and retired, whosoever was going into the gravel was retiring except, of course, Lewis Hamilton.

        1. I remember something similar happening in Nurburgring in 07. 4-6 other cars were on gravel in the first corner but Hamilton forced the tracktor driver to move his car back on the tarmac while he was still in it.

        2. If everyone is spinning and you stay on the track, is it luck? Or is it that maybe you’re doing something better?

          1. If your car is spinning, by definition you’re not in control anymore.
            Yes technically it might be possible for a super driver to recover the car correctly from the spin, but then again that same super driver probably wouldn’t have gone into a spin.

            I do agree that Hamilton really seems to be ‘blessed’.
            Or he has a contract with the devil, I don’t know.

  2. A lot of similarity between Verstappen 2021 and Hamilton 2016, likewise Hamilton 2021 and Rosberg 2016.

    1. @kingshark
      Yeah, and when you come to think the sandbaggers themselves are happier with their car now, it might represent the end of the championship close fight. I hope not, and in fact I find it more likely to be just another swing in momentum for the season, but let’s see.

    2. Exactly, I’ve been saying this for a while.

  3. Understandable Honda don’t want a mid-race engine failure in their swansong season.

    1. Andy (@andyfromsandy)
      26th August 2021, 20:10


      1. And also ES and CE?

      2. they make the most noise in the paddock, i m surprised they are not on their 10th EX already :)

  4. Looks like it’s official. Renault is now the worst power unit on the grid. Least reliable, lowest performance and worst to package.

    1. And they went from more suppliers to only one.

  5. Ferrari getting so reliable, they may supply the whole grid come 2030.

  6. I don’t get it. Verstappen’s engine didn’t fail it started leaking oil. So maybe do a bit welding, or some mechanical reinforcement and use it in FP2-s until it actually does fail.

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