Red Bull has decided to place a new engine in Max Verstappen’s RB16B. It is the fourth power source of the season, which means that Verstappen will have to start at the back at the Sochi Autodrom.
Prior to the weekend, the possibility of swapping the engine in Russia was discussed by Red Bull. Because Verstappen already received a three-place grid penalty for the crash with Lewis Hamilton at Monza, it seemed tactical to carry out the engine change at the Sochi Autodrom. Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko said earlier this week that they would look into this after qualifying, but it will not come to that: the team has already decided to place a new power source after the first free practice.
The teams are allowed to use three motorcycles per season within the so-called pool. During the season they are allowed to switch between these three ‘for free’, but if a fourth engine is needed, that will result in a grid penalty. In the crash at Silverstone, Verstappen lost one of those three engines, so the team only had two in the group. Because it is Verstappen’s fourth engine of the season, he will face a grid penalty. He will therefore have to start at the back of the grid, where he will be joined by Charles Leclerc, who also received a new power source.