Red Bull have changed the Honda power unit in Max Verstappen’s RB16B ahead of today’s Hungarian Grand Prix, but the Dutchman will not be hit with a penalty for the swap and will still start from his P3 grid slot.
Verstappen started the weekend with the power unit that was in the car for his heavy crash at Silverstone two weeks ago. The unit was taken back to Honda’s base in Japan for tests after the British Grand Prix, then ran in practice and qualifying at the Hungaroring. But after Saturday’s sessions, Honda said they discovered an issue, and decided to change it for the race.
The team also changed the turbo, MGU-H, MGU-K and exhaust system on Verstappen’s car, but as the changed parts are are of an identical specification, the changes are allowed under parc ferme regulations and therefore Verstappen will not be hit with a grid penalty for this race.
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A Honda statement on Sunday morning confirmed the news. It read: “During post-qualifying checks we noticed something on Max’s PU which might have developed over the course of the weekend, likely to be an after-effect of the Silverstone crash.
“We have therefore changed it for a new PU of the same specification. According to the regulations, Max is allowed to start from his third position on the grid with no penalty incurred.”
This new unit is the third Verstappen has used this season – which is the limit under the regulations. So although he doesn’t incur a penalty for this race, he will take a 10 place grid drop if he has to use a fourth PU during the second half of the season.
Verstappen starts from P3 behind the two Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas, but on the soft compound tyres, as opposed to the mediums both Silver Arrows will start on. Lights out for the race is 3pm local time and we will have full coverage right here on F1.com.