Verstappen to start F1 Russian GP from back with new power unit

Max Verstappen will start Sunday’s Formula 1 Russian Grand Prix from the back of the grid after Red Bull opted to fit a fresh Honda power unit.

Verstappen to start F1 Russian GP from back with new power unit

Red Bull was braced for a grid penalty at some point in the second half of the season after losing one of Verstappen’s three engines for the season as a result of crash damage at Silverstone when he collided with Lewis Hamilton.

Verstappen entered the Sochi race weekend facing a three-place grid penalty as punishment for being predominantly to blame for the collision with Hamilton at Monza two weeks ago.

Verstappen said on Thursday there were still “question marks” about whether Red Bull would opt to take the fresh power unit in Sochi, and that a decision was yet to be made.

But following the start of second practice for the Russian Grand Prix on Friday, it was confirmed that Red Bull had taken a fresh power unit for Verstappen’s car, fitting a complete set of new elements.

It means Verstappen will start Sunday’s Russian Grand Prix from the back of the grid with the penalties applied, having taken a new engine, turbocharger, MGU-H, MGU-K, energy store and control electronics, as well as a fresh exhaust.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB16B

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB16B

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

The decision by Red Bull gives Mercedes and Hamilton a chance to take advantage in their respective title battles. Hamilton currently trails Verstappen by five points at the top of the drivers’ standings, while Mercedes sits 18 points clear in the constructors’ championship.

Mercedes has never lost a race at the Sochi Autodrom, enjoying a winning streak that dates back to the track’s first F1 grand prix in 2014.

Verstappen is not the only driver set to start at the back of the grid on Sunday after Ferrari opted to take a fresh power unit for Charles Leclerc’s car ahead of FP1 in Sochi.

Red Bull took a fresh power unit for Verstappen’s team-mate, Sergio Perez, at Zandvoort earlier this month, while Mercedes fitted Valtteri Bottas with a new power unit at Monza.

It leaves Hamilton as the only driver from the leading two teams who is yet to move on to a fourth power unit this year.

 

shares
comments

Related video

Horner: Verstappen has "nothing to lose" in 2021 F1 title fight

Previous article

Horner: Verstappen has "nothing to lose" in 2021 F1 title fight

Next article

F1 Russian GP: Bottas leads Mercedes 1-2 in FP2, Giovinazzi crashes

F1 Russian GP: Bottas leads Mercedes 1-2 in FP2, Giovinazzi crashes
Load comments
Verstappen exclusive: How Red Bull’s ace has become F1 champion material Plus

Verstappen exclusive: How Red Bull’s ace has become F1 champion material

As Red Bull and Honda go all-out for victory in the Japanese engine manufacturer’s last season of its latest Formula 1 dalliance, Max Verstappen finds himself thrust into a compelling title fight with Lewis Hamilton. He told OLEG KARPOV about his evolution into a world championship contender and why Red Bull's no compromise ethos suits him down to the ground

How Mercedes went from Austin practice domination to "very tight at the front" with Red Bull Plus

How Mercedes went from Austin practice domination to "very tight at the front" with Red Bull

Mercedes has been on a roll of late in the ultra-tight fight to win the 2021 Formula 1 world championship. It started off well in practice at Austin for this weekend’s US Grand Prix, but Red Bull got closer as Friday unfolded and even seemed to find an edge in one critical area of what seems set to be another close contest

The six critical factors that could hand F1 2021 glory to Hamilton or Verstappen Plus

The six critical factors that could hand F1 2021 glory to Hamilton or Verstappen

The 2021 Formula 1 title battle is finely poised with six races remaining, as just six points separate championship leader Max Verstappen from seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton. In such a closely-fought season, the outcome could hinge on several small factors playing the way of Red Bull or Mercedes

Formula 1
Oct 22, 2021
Can Whitmarsh appointment help Aston succeed where its F1 rivals failed? Plus

Can Whitmarsh appointment help Aston succeed where its F1 rivals failed?

Aston Martin owner Lawrence Stroll is determined to make the group a billion-dollar business. MARK GALLAGHER analyses his latest play – bringing former McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh into the fold

Formula 1
Oct 22, 2021
Remembering Switzerland’s first F1 winner Plus

Remembering Switzerland’s first F1 winner

Stepping up to F1 in 1962, Jo Siffert shone with Rob Walker Racing Team and BRM before his career was abruptly ended in a fatal crash at Brands Hatch in 1971. On the 50th anniversary of his death, Autosport recalls the career of an F1 and sportscar ace gone before his time

Formula 1
Oct 21, 2021
What Verstappen is risking with his current stance on 2021 F1 world title defeat Plus

What Verstappen is risking with his current stance on 2021 F1 world title defeat

OPINION: Max Verstappen is back in the lead of the 2021 Formula 1 drivers’ championship, with the season’s final flyaway events set to get underway in the USA this weekend. But a defensive stance he’s recently adopted could have a lasting impact for the Red Bull driver when it comes to his chances of defeating Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes

Formula 1
Oct 21, 2021
The hidden Ferrari struggle that Sainz’s recent charge put to rest Plus

The hidden Ferrari struggle that Sainz’s recent charge put to rest

Despite appearing to adjust to life as a Ferrari driver with relative ease, it was far from straightforward under the surface for Carlos Sainz Jr. But, having made breakthroughs in rather different routes at the Russian and Turkish races, he’s now targeting even greater feats for the rest of the Formula 1 season

Formula 1
Oct 20, 2021
The final throes of Brazil's fleetingly successful F1 team Plus

The final throes of Brazil's fleetingly successful F1 team

Emerson Fittipaldi is better remembered for his Formula 1 world championships and Indianapolis 500 successes than for the spell running his eponymous F1 team. Despite a hugely talented roll call of staff, it was a period of internal strife, limited funding and few results - as remembered by Autosport's technical consultant

Formula 1
Oct 18, 2021