Engine penalty ’inevitable’ for Verstappen in 2024

"We have to see how we can best solve this"


27 June 2024 - 11:04
Engine penalty 'inevitable'

Max Verstappen’s struggle to hang onto his championship lead for the rest of the suddenly much more contested 2024 season just suffered another blow.

It almost went unnoticed in Barcelona, but the Red Bull driver had his fourth and final engine installed ahead of the Spanish GP, making a penalty for eventually using a fifth is now basically inevitable.

It means the next engine that goes into Verstappen’s car will attract a ten-place grid penalty, with additional new components to be penalised with 5-position drops.

"We have to see how we can best solve this," team boss Christian Horner is quoted as saying by Speed Week, "but it is inevitable that sooner or later we will have to install another engine and accept a penalty for it."

The Red Bull principal was also quoted as saying by Marca sports newspaper: "We introduced the new engine because the power unit from Canada has been returned to Japan for inspection."

The Spanish publication said the Canada unit was found to be unusable.

The likelihood of grid-drop penalties comes as Red Bull admits that McLaren now has the most well-rounded and consistent car in the entire field.

"We came to the track on Friday with an unbalanced car and needed until qualifying to make it somewhat competitive," Red Bull consultant Dr Helmut Marko wrote in his post-Spanish GP column for Speed Week.

"We could see in the long runs on Friday that McLaren was significantly faster than us. They currently have the car that works with every tyre on every race track, and more or less straightaway."

That could be a problem for Red Bull at its home Austrian GP this weekend, where the sprint race format means sprint qualifying takes place immediately after a single practice session on Friday.

"I’m reminded of last year," Marko also told Osterreich newspaper this week, "when McLaren’s upswing began in Austria. We also have a sprint race again.

"If we don’t do well on Friday, the sprint race will go wrong for us.

Red Bull


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