Honda did not seek to minimize the engine issue that impacted Max Verstappen’s launch off the grid at the Tuscan Grand Prix, admitting the problem was “not small”.
Verstappen initially enjoyed a good start but almost immediately lost power, the Dutchman engulfed by the field into the first corner.
Shortly later up the road, Verstappen was hit from behind and punted into the gravel trap where his RB16 remained stranded.
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The frustrated Red Bull charger believes the incident only precipitated a retirement that would have come anyway given his engine issue, the second power unit problem in a row encountered by Verstappen.
“We’re now investigating the cause of the issue,” said Honda F1 technical director Toyoharu Tanabe, quoted by The Race.
“At the moment I cannot tell you if we could continue, or we had to retire. But the issue is not small. The impact was big. So, it was a very bad situation.”
Honda said it will need to investigate the failure with the help of its R&D department in Sakura, Japan, before deciding an eventual course of action.
Verstappen’s current power unit allocation would allow the Dutchman to take a new fresh engine for Sochi without suffering a grid drop.
Nevertheless, the Dutchman had a hard time hiding his frustration after his retirement.
“It seems that it was the same problem as last week in Monza,” Verstappen told Ziggo Sport.
“The start was good, but when I went full throttle, I had that problem again. I could already feel it on the way to the grid.
“It is not normal for it to happen two races in a row. At the moment I’m sick of it. It doesn’t matter that much to me anymore.”
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