Team Red bull is ready to undergo engine grid penalty for Russian Grand Prix 2018. The team is about to make a surprise move by installing specB Renault power unit in spite of Max Verstappen starting on the front row and getting a podium with a powerful specC engine at the Singapore GP last Sunday.
During the whole Singapore weekend, the Dutchman had been suffering from his Renault engine cutting out and giving him false neutrals clearly due to mapping issues. This meant his engine kept bogging down whenever he was not at full throttle. He was quite shaking with anger after the Qualifying session as this issue denied him of having a proper shot at the pole position.
He survived two upsets during the race. First when his engine cut out behind the safety car causing RB14 to almost stop then it went again when he tried to exit the pit stop. Luckily, he did manage to get ahead of Vettel
Red Bull's team principal Christian Horner has confirmed that Verstappen will need to change the engine because of the issues he faced at Marina Bay. After the race, he said, "We accepted the risks when we took this engine. It has delivered a bit more power and it has been a bit rough around the edges but with the increase in power from it that helped get on to the front row yesterday and helped to achieve a second position today."
Horner was asked about the probability of Verstappen taking the penalty in Russia, to which he replied, "we need to look at it, but the likelihood is probably Sochi being an obvious place."
It is already made no secret that it might need to take further penalties after fitting new engines in Italy and Russia’s long straights do at least allow the chance for overtaking to recover from any grid penalty incurred.
The decision to add a B-spec engine to the pool for its drivers is most likely motivated by the fact it is at least reliable, with Renault having been clear from the outset that this could not be guaranteed with the C spec yet.
The Red Bull team boss was full of praise for the Dutchman, who will turn 21 on the day of the Russian Grand Prix.
"I think since Montreal, he has driven extremely well, and again it was another very mature performance by Max. He fought hard to keep Sebastian off and then he fought hard to attack in on the pit exit. The only moment of excitement was when they came across the backmarkers, with Grosjean and Sirotkin having their own battle. He got pretty close to launching one up the inside, but that was about as close as he got today, he added.
Verstappen currently sits in P5 in the Drivers' Championship and has a 22-point lead over his team-mate, Daniel Ricciardo.