Max Verstappen. Source:

Honda has revealed Red Bull’s persistent “doubts” over the Max Verstappen engine penalty they took at the Russian GP.

Red Bull announced before the second practice session of the Russian GP that Verstappen will be taking an engine penalty. This was needed because Verstappen’s car engines were damaged during the British and Hungarian GP.

For Russia, the Dutchman was anyway serving a three-place grid penalty, so they went the whole way with it.

Honda revealed Red Bull’s persistent “doubts” over the Verstappen engine penalty they took at the Russian GP, saying that they had to convince Helmut Marko to green-light the decision.

“We originally knew the Mercedes would be faster there and the set-up of the cars was completely different, so we thought they would finish 1-2,” Honda F1 managing director Masashi Yamamoto said, as quoted by Auto Sport Web.

Masashi Yamamoto talks to Helmut Marko. Silverstone August 2020.
Yamamoto (left) in talks with Marko (right). Source:

“Max’s second place was the best we could do to minimise the damage. We were also able to put in the fourth engine, so I think that gives us an advantage. We had to put in a fourth PU (power unit) at some point, so it was a good decision to put the PU in.

“It was a difficult decision because we had a number of options and we had to look at the situation in FP1 and see what we could do. I heard Red Bull had doubts about it until the end.

“I’m happy with the strategy because I was talking to Mr. Marko, and I personally thought Russia would be a good place to fit the fourth engine.”

More than dividends

The decision was done with the aim of securing points, but a change in fortune saw Verstappen bag an astounding second place. Rain came to help the Red Bull team, and saw Verstappen overcome a back-of-the-grid start to finish P2.

The result meant Verstappen surrendered the WDC lead to title rival Lewis Hamilton, but he only trails by two points.

Read more: Red Bull claim ignorance from FIA after complaint regarding Mercedes’ race trick


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