Marko: "We assume Mercedes will take the penalty there"

24-09-2021 17:57 | Updated: 24-09-2021 19:02
Marko: We assume Mercedes will take the penalty there

Helmut Marko has provided more detail on why an all-new Honda engine has been placed in Max Verstappen 's RB16B. The Red Bull Racing advisor saw a dominant Mercedes on Friday, so the choice was ultimately not very difficult for the Milton Keynes-based formation.

"With the superiority of the Mercedes, Max would have been third at best in qualifying. He then gets another three spots penalty because of the Monza penalty, so that would put him sixth. Changing one engine part would mean P16," Marko calculates for Auto, Motor und Sport. "That's not much better than the last starting row, so that's why we prefer to replace all the parts."

Why new Honda engine in VT2 already

Often an engine change is only done during the third free practice session. Red Bull however chose to make the change after the first free practice. Marko has a good reason for this. "We wanted to drive on a dry track with the new engine. Calibration takes a bit longer with us than with Mercedes. We didn't want to do that in the rain." The chance of rain is huge on Saturday.

With rain on the way, a place on the front row of the grid is certainly not a foregone conclusion for Hamilton, but either way it will be an incredibly tough job for Verstappen to lead the world championship even after the Russian GP. "With Turkey, Austin and Mexico our circuits are coming up again. We assume Mercedes will take the penalty there. For the same reasons as we did here in Sochi," Marko is referring to Mercedes' supremacy in Russia. However, Toto Wolff indicated on Friday that it is by no means certain that Hamilton will get a new engine this year. It is possible that the Brit will manage with three power sources.

Rain or no rain for Verstappen?

Is the Austrian racing team hoping for rain on Sunday? It has its pros and cons. "On the one hand Max can show his driving qualities in the rain. On the other hand, in the rain there is a greater risk of someone hitting your car or the spray not allowing you to overtake properly", Marko concludes his story with the German medium.

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