Honda explains Verstappen issue


Already destined to start from the back of the grid after taking on the latest-spec Honda power unit, Max Verstappen was sidelined in the opening phase anyway when he suffered a loss of power.

Though any time he posted wouldn't have really mattered, due to his demotion to the back of the grid, his early elimination meant he was not able to help teammate Alex Albon in terms of giving him a tow. The Thai driver subsequently qualifying eighth, behind the Renaults and a McLaren.

Honda technical director, Toyoharu Tanabe subsequently revealed that "excessive wheelspin" was the root cause of the issue.

"Max was unable to set a time in Q1, after he got excessive wheelspin going over a kerb with a resultant rise in engine revs, causing a Honda protection mode and then an FIA system to cut in and reduce power," he revealed.

"However, even before the start of the weekend, we knew that Verstappen and Gasly would be starting from the back of the grid, in order to switch to our Spec 4 PU," he added. "Overtaking is not too difficult at this track, so we expect all four of our cars to have a strong race tomorrow."

"I wanted to go out and do one lap to see how competitive we were in Q1, even though we are starting at the back because of the penalty," said Verstappen, "but out of Turn 2 I felt a loss of power and we chose to abort the lap.

"I'm not worried about the power unit," he added, "as we haven't seen problems in the race before and the upgrade seems to be working well in terms of performance as you could see from our times in FP3.

"In the dry it will be pretty tough as the leaders should be able to pull away quickly in the first few laps and there are a lot of cars that look competitive around here. On a track where there aren't many corners and the lap times are so similar it is harder to close that gap, but in the wet the differences are normally a bit bigger and then we can definitely move to the front.

"Rain would give us a better chance but even in the dry we have a good race car so it should be fun and I'm aiming for the top five."

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Published: 07/09/2019
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