Verstappen will start Russian GP from back after engine change - The Race
Formula 1

Verstappen will start Russian GP from back after engine change

Sep 24 2021
By Scott Mitchell

Formula 1 championship leader Max Verstappen will start the Russian Grand Prix from the back of the grid as Red Bull has opted to take a new Honda power unit at Sochi.

Verstappen lost his second engine of the season after his heavy crash at Silverstone, caused by contact with title rival Lewis Hamilton.

He had to switch to a brand new power unit for the next race in Hungary, as a crack was discovered in the repaired engine after qualifying, which moved him onto his third set of major engine components of the season.

Drivers can only use three each of the international combustion engine, MGU-H, turbocharger and MGU-K in a season before grid penalties start being applied.

Honda attempted to salvage the cracked power unit but it cannot be used in races again this season, leaving Verstappen with only the engine introduced in Hungary and a high-mileage engine from early in the season to get to the end of the year without a penalty.

That meant taking a fourth power unit – and the associated grid penalty – was inevitable and Red Bull has opted to take that in Russia.

Verstappen was due to take a three-place grid penalty anyway for causing a collision with Hamilton at Monza.

As he has multiple component changes, he will be required to start at the back of the grid, joining Charles Leclerc who is debuting Ferrari’s upgraded engine. 

Verstappen will start behind Leclerc as the Ferrari driver’s penalty will be applied first after he used the new components in FP1, while Verstappen debuted his new engine in FP2.

Verstappen currently holds a five-point lead over Hamilton in the drivers’ championship.

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