Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Spa-Francorchamps, 2019

Verstappen compromised at Spa by “very aggressive” engine use in Hungary

2019 Belgian Grand Prix

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Max Verstappen went into the Belgian Grand Prix weekend at a disadvantage because he was using the same power unit he raced in Hungary.

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner revealed the team ran Verstappen’s engine “very aggressively” at the Hungaroring as he tried to protect his lead from the chasing Lewis Hamilton. Verstappen complained of poor power delivery from his egine during qualifying at Spa.

“Because we ran this engine very aggressively at previous races, one being Budapest trying to get the race win, we couldn’t run the engine quite as aggressively in performance modes as previously,” said Horner.

“That’s just due to the amount of mileage [in] the engine and how hard it’s been run,” he added. “Nothing outside of its parameters.”

Both the team’s drivers raced the ‘spec two’ Honda power unit at Spa, despite Alexander Albon taking a grid penalty for introducing a new unit.

“Neither driver raced the spec four engine this weekend,” Horner confirmed. “We obviously took a penalty with Albon on Friday. Both drivers ended up racing the spec two engine and unfortunately Max’s race didn’t get further than the first corner.

“But I think it’s encouraging from what we saw on Friday with performance data that we no doubt got from [Daniil] Kvyat running the new engine that I think progress is definitely being made and delivering what was expected.”

F1 will race at Monza this weekend, the most power-sensitive circuit on the calendar. Horner believes home favourites Ferrari are “the benchmark in the power unit department at the moment.”

“They’re doing an incredible job,” he said. “Their straight-line speed looks hugely impressive. Particularly on Saturdays.

“So they’re the benchmark we all have to drive for. But it seems to be certainly the group behind is converging between Mercedes, Honda and Renault. It definitely looks like finally we have some convergence.”

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Keith Collantine
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34 comments on “Verstappen compromised at Spa by “very aggressive” engine use in Hungary”

  1. I mean, it makes sense. Red Bull’s pace at Hungaroring was second best, from pole they had a decent chance of a win, but the Merc was much faster. So turn up the engine for a 50/50 chance of a win, whereas Spa was never going to deliver much. Educated gamble, didn’t quite pay off.
    Shows how well he did to get pole and how strong Merc race pace was, too.

    1. @hahostolze I believe Honda/RB used the same strategy during the Austrian GP where it did pay off. It makes perfect sense when you fight for victories but not the world championship.

      1. @matthijs still the same engine, so obviously Austria wouldn’t have helped, but I believe the engine in Austria wasn’t quite turned up to the levels of Hungary

        1. @hahostolze Horner said they gave Max maximum power in Austria and that that was exactly why he was able to take the win.

    2. They are taking penalties for Max and Pierre for Monza GP so quite sure they are taking new engine for Singapore GP and may take another penalty before Mexican GP where they will be strong.

  2. if max had kept his nose clean into turn 1, he would have probably bagged 4th place. but i’m sure he knows that, i’m just making a snide comment (he’s had a wonderful year).

    1. Not confident of that Merc’s had decent pace, although Hamilton did finish just shy of 13 seconds ahead of Bottas. Would’ve been good to watch, if it happened…

      1. But neither of the Mercs finished 4th anyway?

        He’s saying he could have beaten Mr 2-Stop.

      2. Of those 13 seconds some three quarters – about 9 seconds – would be due to Bottas turning the car down to save mileage once it was clear that Vettel didn’t have the pace to get to him (as he confirmed after the race) while Lewis was obviously pushing for the win @icarby.

        As RB13 points out it was Vettel in 4th who would have been the target for Max @frood19 refers to.

    2. @frood19 It’s sad to see that when the pressure is on, he still makes those mistakes.

    3. It takes another driver to notice you to keep your nose clean… to me a penalty for Kimi was a done deal…
      Max was next to Kimi about 100mtr before the corner, the helicopter view shows his frontwing was ahead of Kimi’s cockpit about 15 meters before the corner. Kimi admitted he simply didn’t see him as he was focused on Bottas.

      Kimi didn;t need his mirrors to see Max, he could have seen him right from his cockpit. plus he had all the space on the outside.

      I’t already the 4th time Ferrari driver don;t see Max at the start.. Spa 16, Singapore 17, Canada 17 and Spa 19… maybe he needs a red car to get noticed…?

  3. Convergence just in time for regulations change!

    1. Well he is speaking of Pu convergence, and that will only continue as the new 2021 regs will have the same Pu(s).

  4. Max will change engine and take penalty in Monza, probably to target the win in Singapore.

    1. @jeanrien

      He’s using a spec 4 in Monza, which means he won’t have a fresh engine for Singapore. Which isn’t ideal… But still a heck of a lot better than incurring a grid penalty at Singapore.

      1. He probably would’t have to use it though @todfod – Albon also took the penalty in Spa, but actually ran the older spec engine for qualifying and the race.

        They just put the engine in the car and got mileage on it to have it “in the pool” for the future, they can do the same with Verstappen here, if they want.

  5. Was Crashtappen penalised with grid positions for destroying Raikkonen’s race?

    1. You should know that for more than a year MAX did not had a crash. You know HAM and LEC had more crashes in the last few races then Max had in 21 races.
      I guess for a troll giving nicknames is tempting, but you’r very childish now. (i know i took the bait)
      And of course he or kimi did not got a penalty because there was nothing wrong in the contact. Just a very unlucky move from both.

      1. He crashed into Bottas in Monaco and into Ocon in Brazil.

        1. An unsafe release in Monaco and Ocon crashed into Max…he had no right to be where he was, hence the penalty… trools will be trolls I guess. Most consistant driver over 21 races… simple fact.

        2. Not really. Bottas was in the way, like always. And Ocon got penilized for driving into Verstappen.

      2. i know i took the bait

        It has to be said that you’re also pretty good at interpreting pretty much anything as a bait. Okay, not in this case. Deliberately misspelling a driver’s name to insult them is the hallmark of people that are just not worth your time (in over 90% of cases).

        However, there’s one thing I can’t agree with:

        And of course he or kimi did not got a penalty because there was nothing wrong in the contact.

        This is not a permissible conclusion. There are several reasons for the Stewards to decide that no investigation is necessary, one of them being the fact that the causer of a collision has punished himself by not being able to finish the race. In fact, that is the standard procedure in (relatively) minor accidents that would otherwise lead to a small-ish time penalty.
        Also, there was definitely something wrong in the contact. Verstappen braked too late, went too deep, and single-handedly caused a collision, end of story. Nothing huge, but it ended up ruining his innocent opponent’s race, which under normal circumstances (e.g. Verstappen not hitting the next best wall because he had even worse damage) would’ve earned him a penalty.

        1. Wasn’t it dangerous to climb Eau Rouge with the front suspension broken? Wasn’t it dangerous to slightly touch somebody in that manouver?

          1. I understand the words in your rhetorical questions, but I have no idea how they relate to anything that has been said. What do you want to hear? That deliberately misspelling Verstappen’s name was fair and justified and by no means obnoxious?

      3. HAM and LEC did not crash into other cars. There’s difference.

  6. RBR have been quite clever managing the Honda engine. Obviously it’s a huge improvement over Renault but they still have a little way to go in terms of both speed and reliability. But by sacrificing this season and Honda delivering upgrades they are going to be in good shape next season.

  7. You know what else compromised him at Spa? Max Verstappen.

    1. @knewman

      Like he said, “Aggressive engine use”. He failed to mention non-aggressive brake usage.

  8. That aggressive engine is a terrible influence on gullible Max.
    At the start it whispered in his ear to go on and try taking out Kimi at the first corner.

  9. 1) Destroy other drivers race.
    2) Continue driving with a broken car, while the other drivers in the middle.
    3) Crashing later and blocking the race.

    If this aren’t enough reasons to penalize a driver, what should be done to penalize that dangerous driver?

    And for the ones that say he hasn’t crash more than Leclerc or whatever driver you want to say. He’s the driver with more incidents in the f1 in the last 3 years. So don’t tell a fake history just because you like him or you are his fan. Race by race he always has touchings and controversial actions. Bottas, Leclerc, Ocon, Hamilton, Vettel, Raikkonen, Ricciardo, Rosberg, …. He has touched with 80% of the drivers in the grid.

    1. The FIA didn’t penalize Vettel for deliberately ramming his car into Hamilton under a safety car.

      Why should they punish the current hyped F1 superstar for driving exactly the way he did two years ago at Spa?

      1. They did. A 10 sec stop n go I believe

  10. If they can’t be ‘aggressive’ for 3 laps at most in in qualifying, how on earth did they expect him to finish the race with that engine?

    After what had happened the day before it was really poor to see him try and continue up eau rouge, he nearly took a car out on his way into the barrier

    1. aggressive ≠ aggressive. Context matters.

      “Aggressive” in qualifying means pushing the components uncomfortably close to their breaking point. You can do that for about 20-30 laps with a Ferrari or Mercedes engine, and you have to back off immediately after a single lap to make sure nothing breaks down. Using this kind of “aggressive” in a race would probably result in an engine failure within 5 laps.

      “Aggressive” in a race means pushing the components uncomfortably close to, or maybe even slightly above, the predicted wear level that allows you to run the engine long enough to get through the season with the planned amount of engines, avoiding unplanned grid penalties (i.e. 3-5 races in Red Bull’s case). Using this kind of “aggressive” in a race results in a moderate chance of suffering an engine failure, but you can usually get away with it.

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