Sergio Perez, Red Bull, Spa-Francorchamps, 2021

Honda may repair Verstappen’s power unit, Perez’s “completely destroyed”

2021 Belgian Grand Prix

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Honda believe they may be able to salvage Max Verstappen’s damaged power unit for use later in the season.

Separate crashes at Silverstone, for Verstappen, and the Hungaroring, for Sergio Perez, caused damage to their power units, which are the second they have fitted this season.

A repair job on Verstappen’s power unit will incur penalties for parts changes, according to Honda. The manufacturer also confirmed Perez’s power unit was written off in his crash.

“For Max’s PU we decided we cannot use it in the racing,” explained Honda’s technical director Toyoharu Tanabe. “Checo’s one is completely destroyed.”

“In the case of Max’s one, we aren’t sure – if we replace the parts maybe we can use it as normal,” he continued. “But from safety point of view the current damage is a little bit too big to use it in racing.

“In the current PU regulations we cannot change parts which are sealed by the FIA. Unfortunately we want to change parts which are sealed.”

Both unit were damaged in collisions caused by other drivers. Tanabe said Formula 1 should consider revising its rules to allow teams to avoid penalties for repairing power unit damage caused by other teams.

“Of course we, being Honda, respect the PU regulations which is based on long experience,” he said. “But looking at our situation I think there is room to reconsider the regulation.”

Tanabe suggested a system where a team who has suffered damage tables a request for a penalty-free parts change which is then considered in a meeting involving them and representatives of the FIA and other power unit manufacturers.

“Then we can review the accident, we can check impact data, we can check chassis damage, we can check PU damage and then altogether we can discuss about the parts change request from PU manufacturers,” said Tanabe. The group would then determine whether a parts change would be allowed without a grid penalty.

“Considering the current economic situation, also the sustainability of this sport, I think we have room to consider that type of thing,” said Tanabe. “Anyway, we respect the regulation very much.”

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
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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13 comments on “Honda may repair Verstappen’s power unit, Perez’s “completely destroyed””

  1. Tanabe suggested a system where a team who has suffered damage tables a request for a penalty-free parts change which is then considered in a meeting involving them and representatives of the FIA and other power unit manufacturers.

    Excellent idea. The reason for the engine limit was money. Now we have the situation a engine can be repaired and kept in the pool but the penalty is the same for a change. So not really a environmental solution.

    Apart from that, there is no damage as a result of the design or number of races but resulting form external events.

    1. “…we respect the regulation very much” but we want to change it! 🤦‍♂️

      1. That’s just Japanese courtesy. They won’t say “the current system is utter garbage”

        1. There is something even more Japanese in Tanabe’s comments: there is the suggestion of a committee to solve things up!

    2. Oh come on…!

      I can understand a budget cap adjustment ie say a single engine in a pool for approved use but the above suggestion is a blatant attempt to revise a system that others have suffered for years. Just to benefit one team with the hump. Championships have been lost on this. Perhaps instead of being clever on the aero changes this year they should have thought about the impact of such things as crashes on a budget cap year! It’s not going away and it’s the first crash in history.

      Suddenly because a crowd exiting stage left for the, what is it? Eighth time? Are working with the kings of winge – suddenly the regs must change to assist them upon said exit?

      Bottom line – fans have been doing their nuts for years over numerous gearbox and engine penalties affecting drivers, grid positions, you name it. These are the ones that do the job, up and down the grid for years. Either bin the whole idea and give enough engines and gearboxes or don’t.

      Fiddling while Rome burns will never work while this ridiculous, more costly, method of ‘sustainability’ eco stunt continues.

      Letting it benefit one team after this amount of history would be ridiculous.

      1. Not sure which team will benefit. You probably do not understand the proposed change.

      2. Every team wants the rule book to suit themselves, so asking for a rule change isn’t unusual. The question is whether other teams would see merit in Honda’s suggestion. Obviously teams powered by Honda will see the merit, while teams with the same name as their power unit supply won’t see any merit. So the question is how will teams powered by a different power unit than their name see this problem?

      3. What differs is that the allocation of parts has reduced significantly over the years. Any third-party damage penalises the team and driver much more now than at any time in the history of F1.

        I think there should be leeway at least in repairing existing units with the same spec parts after an accident as now it is far too stringent.

        Allocation of a completely new unit though is a more prickly question because of the complete cost of manufacturing and also the benefit of more power from a fresh unit.

        In that sense, I think the idea of a penalty-free change with full deduction from the budget should be considered as an option if the circumstances are deemed apt by the other competitors.

        Reply moderated
  2. Excellent idea, but Honda won’t be able to sell this idea of penalty free component swops to Mercedes at least until the season end. That is assuming the FIA require a unanimous vote.

  3. What the hell happened to Perez’ car in Hungary? I saw the crash but it didn’t look that severe. He even kept driving after the contact.

    1. Indeed, I’ve been looking but couldn’t find why he stopped after.

    2. @ajpennypacker the reason why the engine is wrecked is because he continued driving the car when the radiator was damaged and rapidly losing coolant – the minor collision between Perez and Mick Schumacher doesn’t seem to have helped either (the world feed missed it at the time, but the onboard cameras show they had a minor coming together as Perez passed Mick).

  4. FFS man, this unit was damaged MONTHS ago.

    First it’s fine, then it’s not, then it’s, then it isn’t

    Can they just make their …… minds up please

    It’s like they’re just trying to grab headlines

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