Marko Reveals Under What EXACT Circumstance Red Bull Will Take Verstappen’s Engine Penalty in Sochi

Published 09/22/2021, 6:44 AM EDT
MEXICO CITY, MEXICO – OCTOBER 27: Max Verstappen of Netherlands and Red Bull Racing talks with Red Bull Racing Team Consultant Dr Helmut Marko during final practice for the Formula One Grand Prix of Mexico at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez on October 27, 2018 in Mexico City, Mexico. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images) // Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool


Red Bull is considering replacing the engine currently running Max Verstappen’s car before they arrive at Sochi for the Russian Grand Prix. However, this would mean that he would have to start from the back of the grid. Team Advisor Helmut Marko spoke about this recently in an interview with RTL/ntv.

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It could be the case, if the overall picture of the overtaking possibility gives us the possibility of points, provided we start from the very back.“, said Marko.

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Changing the engine and the penalties that come with it

A driver is allowed to use three power units throughout the season, using any more engines will cause them to suffer a penalty. As a result, they would have to start from the back of the grid at the race where they change the engine. This happened to Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas recently in Italy where he had to start from the back.

ZANDVOORT, NETHERLANDS – SEPTEMBER 05: Race winner Max Verstappen of Netherlands and Red Bull Racing celebrates with his team after the F1 Grand Prix of The Netherlands at Circuit Zandvoort on September 05, 2021, in Zandvoort, Netherlands. (Photo by Joe Portlock – Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)

For Max, three power units have already been used up in the current season, and it’s very clear that they will have to take the fourth one. Helmut Marko said that Red Bull might take the penalty at Sochi.  “We are limited on the engine side. We have to change the engine at some point in the next race, due to the damage to Silverstone.”, explained Helmut. He went on to say that it doesn’t necessarily have to be done in Sochi. So, they will wait for the qualifying to see how the weather plays out, and then they would take the decision.

Verstappen’s penalty and its huge effect on the drivers’ championship

According to the current situation, it is not just Max, even Lewis will probably have to swap his engine and take a penalty. But, when they take it will have a huge domino effect on their title fight.

Red Bull would want to approach the Russian GP “aggressively” to try to maintain Verstappen’s World Championship lead. Max will have to take a 3 place grid drop either way, as a result of his crash with Hamilton in Monza. So, it might help Red Bull overall, if the two penalties coincide.

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ZANDVOORT, NETHERLANDS – SEPTEMBER 05: Race winner Max Verstappen of Netherlands and Red Bull Racing celebrates with his team after the F1 Grand Prix of The Netherlands at Circuit Zandvoort on September 05, 2021, in Zandvoort, Netherlands. (Photo by Clive Rose – Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)

Helmut Marko is confident of Red Bull’s capacity to overtake at Sochi. “Thank goodness it is possible to overtake in Sochi. We’ll see how the speed will be, compared to Mercedes, and then we have to adjust the strategy from our side.“, said Helmut.

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Looking back at the last few years, Sochi has been “clearly a Mercedes track“, as said by Marko. “But that is no longer relevant because we caught up a lot this year, and were competitive on practically all courses.“, said the Red Bull advisor.

No matter what happens, it’s quite apparent that the battle will go down to the wire. We’ll only have to wait and see how big of a role strategy plays in deciding the World Championship.

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Riddhi Mondal

72 articles

Riddhi Mondal is an F1 Author at EssentiallySports. Having previously worked as a student reporter at The Statesman, she is an ardent follower of all things F1. A nerd through and through, the complicated physics that goes into the cars is what drew Riddhi to the sport.

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