Verstappen to change engine and start Russian Grand Prix at back of grid

2021 Russian Grand Prix

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Max Verstappen will have a further grid penalty for this weekend’s Russian Grand Prix as Red Bull has decided to change his power unit.

The world championship leader will exceed the maximum number of power unit components he is permitted for the season, earning an automatic penalty. He arrived in Sochi with a three-place grid penalty for causing a collision with Lewis Hamilton at the previous round.

Verstappen has reached the limit partly due to damage suffered by one of his power units when he crashed during the British Grand Prix following another clash with Hamilton.

He is expected to join Charles Leclerc in starting at the back of the grid as the Ferrari driver has already been penalised for a power unit change.

No.CarEngineDriverICETCMGU-HMGU-KESCEEX
31AlpineRenaultEsteban Ocon3333228
14AlpineRenaultFernando Alonso3333228
10AlphaTauriHondaPierre Gasly4444337
33Red BullHondaMax Verstappen4444337
11Red BullHondaSergio Perez4444446
55FerrariFerrariCarlos Sainz Jnr3332226
7Alfa RomeoFerrariKimi Raikkonen3332226
99Alfa RomeoFerrariAntonio Giovinazzi3332226
16FerrariFerrariCharles Leclerc4442335
22AlphaTauriHondaYuki Tsunoda3333335
4McLarenMercedesLando Norris3333225
47HaasFerrariMick Schumacher3332225
9HaasFerrariNikita Mazepin3332225
77MercedesMercedesValtteri Bottas4444234
5Aston MartinMercedesSebastian Vettel3333224
44MercedesMercedesLewis Hamilton3333223
63WilliamsMercedesGeorge Russell3332223
3McLarenMercedesDaniel Ricciardo3332223
31WilliamsMercedesNicholas Latifi3332223
18Aston MartinMercedesLance Stroll3332223

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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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51 comments on “Verstappen to change engine and start Russian Grand Prix at back of grid”

  1. To think this is Mercedes induced…

    1. He’s deemed partially to blame for the Silverstone incident …

      Instead of seeing Hamilton directly to his right and then steering in even sharper (after initially instinctively opening up his steering), he could simply have given the space needed rather than the bare minimum for a driver on a specific trajectory that Hamilton was not on.

      1. @f1osaurus this will probably keep on doing the rounds, but no. He opened up the steering to accomodate for a car on his inside, but then of course had to still take the corner. He didn’t cut to the apex, he left space, Lewis understeered, bam.

        He is taking a new PU because of Silverstone and Hungary. Given Lewis was predominantly at fault in Silverstone and Max not in the slightest for Hungary, at best Max has a 25% share in this PU change and at worst 0.01%.

        Either way it’s largely induced by Mercedes.

        1. What he attempted was to try and kill off Hamilton’s momentum with a high speed block pass from the outside!!!!
          Good idea but poor execution. The result is the driver on the inside usually spins out while trying to avoid contact and losing downforce.

        2. @mattds Yeah he left space for a car on the perfect racing line. Which clearly Hamilton was not. And as Verstappen indicated he knew this, but simply assumed Hamilton would back out.

          So he instinctively opened up and made space, but then consciously decided against it and went for the sharp line hoping he would bully Hamilton out of it. Which nearly worked as indeed Hamilton did try to back out, but there was no way Hamilton could could avoid that being so far alongside before trying to back out.

          Even according to the stewards he has up to 49% blame in this engine change

          1. @f1osaurus no, according to the stewards he does not have “up to 49%” blame. First of all, the stewards do not give an exact number, but that does not mean they do not have something in mind. The verdict does not mean “well we think he’s anywhere from 1% to 49% in the wrong”. It means “Hamilton is mostly in the wrong, so we’re punishing him”. Otherwise I can just say Max could be only 1% to blame.

            Secondly, I ALREADY did the maths for you. The PU change was also a results of the Hungary wipeout, as I said, but you seem to have ignored that. You probably know how maths work, but even if we take the 49% number, and average out 0% for Hungary, then we arrive at… well, you finish it. And then you look at my above post and see what I was getting at with the 25%.

            And your reconstruction of Silverstone is your own. He opened up the steering to leave space. He did not “then consciously decide against it” – as changing your line works by briefly opening the steering and then giving steering input again. If you don’t do that, evidently you don’t turn but go straight.

          2. @mattds Indeed they don’t give an exact number. Just that Hamilton was more to blame. So that means Verstappen was up to 49% to blame

          3. @f1osaurus yes, and given both Hungary and Silverstone caused yesterday’s PU change and he was 0% to blame in Hungary, he is somewhere between 0.1% and 24.9% to blame, give or take.

            Which is exactly what I originally wrote.

          4. @mattds Hungary is 0% related to Verstappen’s engine change.

            It’s up to 49% his own fault in Silverstone and then he did 2 races already with that engine which for Honda seems to last for 3 to 4 races. So even from that ma51% for Hamilton it’s only 25% or 50% off that. It’s way more Verstappen/Honda’s fault than anyone else.

          5. @f1osaurus yeah OK mate. So Max gets taken out which is more Lewis’ fault than his own, because of that he has to take on an extra PU, but “it’s way more Verstappen/Honda’s fault than anyone else”. Sure.

            which for Honda seems to last for 3 to 4 races

            Yeah I’m going to need something to back this up. They were not on their third unit in Silverstone, which was 10 races in. So where does the 3 to 4 races figure suddenly come from?

          6. @mattds I’m not your mate buddy.

          7. @f1osaurus I’m not your buddy, pal.

    2. Yeah it’s bizarre, but very F1, and it’s been much worse in the past

  2. It was obvious. Take advantage of the penalty situation and have a fresh engine for the rest of the season. Hamilton will have to do it sooner or later, as far as I know his engine is on the limit.

    1. @jib what’s your source? People keep talking about a Ham penalty but i can’t see the reason

      1. Mercedes said they will not add aero upgrades for the rest of the season, so to get more performance they intend to you higher power settings on the engine ….. with just 3 engines it means tha each one will have to last at least 7 races ….. go to abu dabhi with an old engine and a higher power mode can be a bad idea

        Max will have a new engine this week and we need to keep in mind that his 3rd unit wich was fitted for Hungary is ‘newer than expected” … because

        Hungary (run in slower pace because of damage)
        Spa (heavy rain in practice meant less intense use) and there was no race
        Zandvoort (normal)
        Monza (shorter race due crash)

        I think that his 3rd engine can still be used for another 2-3 weekends

        1. I don’t think they’ll change it personally. They are still on their 3rd engine whereas Verstappen is already on his 4th. They’ll limp through this race with the engine turned down and if they manage another after, they’ll get to Abu Dhabi with an engine 2 races newer than Verstappen’s.

          Of course all of this is likely irrelevant as I can’t see Verstappen and Hamilton getting through the rest of the season without crashing again and that might change the picture anyway.

          1. You would be correct if you assume that the 3rd engine wouldn’t be used this season anymore. That’s not the case as it’s only raced in Hungary, spa, holland and Monza. It will be used for 1 or 2 races.

    2. @jlb @jeansilva02
      Toto has implied they don’t necessarily have to.

  3. In the table in this article, what is the “EX” column for? I know all the others….

    1. The exhaust system, which has now also been added to the list of limited parts per season.

      1. Thanks! Found more info on this and it seems a maximum of 8 are allowed per season.

        Alpine are already on 8 so they must be smokin’ HOT

  4. @euitdebos > what is the “EX” column for?

    Exceed parts maybe?

  5. At least Ferrari can be happy that they (sort off) got their wish for a reversed starting grid .

    1. Ahah, that’s true, I’m also a fan of reverse grid races, however it’s not nearly enough 2 quick cars at the bottom.

  6. I do not understand why they have these maximum number of components limits.
    These limits were put in place so as to reduce costs, but now that they have the budget cap why don’t they drop them?

    1. Because, Alpine, Ferrari, Mercedes and Redbull may get the PUs “free” if they want.

    2. Power units I believe are excluded from the budget cap.

      1. I think that there is a cap of 15mil for customer engines, but I could not find anything on works teams.

        1. Why is Crashtsappen allowed to take the 3 place penalty and the engine penalty at the same time? He’s basically getting away with what he did at Monza. Ridiculous.

          1. Because Mercedes can -and would- do the same in that situation.
            Only difference is you would call it smart then.

          2. WhY iS cR@ShTsApPeN aLlOwEd To TaKe ThE 3 pLaCe PeNaLtY aNd ThE eNgInE pEnAlTy At ThE sAmE tImE? hE’s BaSiCaLlY gEtTiNg AwAy WiTh WhAt He DiD aT mOnZa. RiDiCuLoUs.

            Found the word, Uppercase Anon. Now, listen to me and shut the hell up. You think you can kill Verstappen? As an anti-Verstappen, I STRONGLY condemn ANY means of name-calling on drivers. I find Verstappen at fault and I want him to pay the fines, or at worse, get him a race ban. Here’s your deathblow. I’m a killer and I just killed you.
            No, just kidding. Monza was a racing incident by 100%.

    3. @exeviolthor I don’t think the engine supply deals are included in the budget cap.

      1. Yes, I see that this is most probably the case.

      2. @exeviolthor The reason the engine supply deals are excluded from the cap is because factory/factory backed teams tend to get the engine supply at a discount (Sometimes even for free) as they are been supplied the engine’s by the factory rather than buying them as customer teams are.

        And of course different manufacturer’s will ask for a different amount for that supply.

        It’s why a factory engine deal tends to be something teams want to go after, Not just in the current turbo hybrid era but going back decades.

  7. @notacoo > what’s your source?

    I think it was Toto Wolff who said it. Anyways, Bottas changed engine in Monza, so something is happening for sure.

    1. Yes, likely something happens before the end of the season, guessing bottas was further ahead due to hungary crash, but hamilton had that engine failure or something in a fp session.

    2. Bottas lost an engine in the crash with Russell in Imola, so his change was forced by accident damage.

  8. Makes sense – get the car set up to overtake whilst not worrying so much about single lap pace and then hope to get through the field quickly on Sunday.

    It’ll be interesting as it’s going to take some patience and careful driving to pull off a Hamilton-style drive to get into the top end of the points from the back of the grid and we haven’t seen much of that from Verstappen! The forecast is showing rain on Sunday – nowhere near as much as Saturday but still a bit of rain.

    1. Well, there’s austin 2018, he started almost at the bottom of the grid and ended up 2nd in a thrilling finish with raikkonen, verstappen, hamilton at times all 3 included in 2 seconds!

  9. I would have reconsidered. Starting last in a rainstorm may just mean driving into the pile up blind.

    1. Even in the dry he managed to drive into the back of Perez in 2019 at Monza after starting last due to an engine change.

  10. If sprint races have reverse grids I’ll quit watching F1 – some f1 watchers.

    Oh look, two fast cars starting from the last row, this will be awesome to watch – also some f1 watchers.

    —–

    I’m very conservative about the F1 format, and I would rather not have sprint races at all. But, if we must have sprint races, fast cars starting from the back is the most attractive option in my opinion.

    Qualifying sets the grid for the main race.
    Sprint race on on Saturday with reversed grid. Somewhere between 33% and 66% of the main race distance. Top 6 scoring system from 6 to 1.

    This format limits the impact of a sprint race to just 6 points (less than the difference between finishing 1st and 2nd in the main race). This format awards points for those in slow cars but able to bravely defend from faster cars. Awards points for drivers on faster cars who can put a great recovery race and overtake. For a formula that awards 1 point every race for whoever pits with 2 laps to go to set a FL, I don’t feel bad given 6 points for a Carlos Sainz or Sebastian Vettel starting 10th, overtaking the slow cars early and defending from a Mercedes at the end. And if Max or Lewis can overtake everyone in the grid (including each other and their and their teammates) and win a shorter race, it will be an amazing show. Not an amazing show if Bottas or Perez hold their rivals at the back to ensure they don’t get to the points.

    Next day the pure race with the pure grid order happens, traditions are saved. Is it worth to sandbag on Qualyfing to start ahead on the sprint race? No, because the max reward is small and the cost is a bad starting position on the main race.
    The only downside is Mazepin on the first row. :D

  11. Why is Crashtsappen allowed to take the 3 place penalty and the engine penalty at the same time? He’s basically getting away with what he did at Monza. Ridiculous.

    1. Repeat question deserves repeat answer:
      Because Mercedes can -and would- do the same in that situation.
      Only difference is you would call it smart then.

    2. Double killshot:
      WhY iS cR@ShTsApPeN aLlOwEd To TaKe ThE 3 pLaCe PeNaLtY aNd ThE eNgInE pEnAlTy At ThE sAmE tImE? hE’s BaSiCaLlY gEtTiNg AwAy WiTh WhAt He DiD aT mOnZa. RiDiCuLoUs.

      Found the word, Uppercase Anon. Now, listen to me and shut the hell up. You think you can kill Verstappen? As an anti-Verstappen, I STRONGLY condemn ANY means of name-calling on drivers. I find Verstappen at fault and I want him to pay the fines, or at worse, get him a race ban. Here’s your deathblow. I’m a killer and I just killed you.
      No, just kidding. Monza was a racing incident by 100%.

  12. Rule bending RB to taking Crashtsappens torpedo penalty along with the PU change penalty.
    You cannot take a stop go penalty alongside a normal pitstop so teams shouldn’t be able game the system adding up grid penalties and take them in one hit.

    1. I’m anti-Verstappen and I strongly condemn name-calling.

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