Jul.29 (GMM) Max Verstappen’s Honda engine appears to have survived the huge 51G crash that left him briefly hospitalised after contact with Lewis Hamilton at Silverstone.
“Thank God the engine can be used again,” Red Bull top official Dr Helmut Marko revealed to RTL.
The team has estimated the damage bill at between EUR 750,000 and 1.5 million in the new budget cap era, but the apparent survival of the power unit is at least good news for the championship leaders.
“The power unit was sent to Sakura for a thorough inspection,” a Honda spokesman told Japanese media.
“Some parts were replaced without breaking the FIA seals, which is allowed by the rules.
“So we will be using this power unit on Friday to conduct full-scale tests on the track, after which we will have a clearer idea of its possible use in racing,” the Honda official added ahead of the Hungarian GP.
Marko continued: “If there are no further difficulties or technical problems, we will get through the season with the three permitted engines so that Max will not be penalised.”
However, he admits Red Bull’s budget cap plans have been affected by the huge damage bill.
“Of course we budgeted for a certain amount of accident damage, but that is calculated on the accidents of the past few years,” said the Austrian.
“But we have never had such a serious accident as this one. It means we have to adapt.
“We don’t want any restrictions for 2021, but that means we have to save elsewhere. The financial experts and engineers are doing that now, so that we can shape it in such a way that there is no loss of performance for Max,” Marko added.
Therefore, he is expecting Verstappen – with nothing but “a stiff neck” – to be back at full speed this weekend in Hungary.
“Thanks to our continuous improvements, we should keep the upper hand in Budapest,” said Marko. “It’s also supposed to be very hot, which also suits us.
“We want to maintain a certain distance from Hamilton so that such incidents cannot happen again.”