Honda ‘can’t believe’ Mercedes F1 engine penalty streak

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The Honda-powered Red Bull team are currently in a close fight with Mercedes for the F1 titles, but recent races have been affected by grid penalties for their German manufacturer rival.

In Brazil, Lewis Hamilton loses five places on the grid for winning his fifth internal combustion engine (ICE) of the season, having already taken one more in Turkey.

His teammate Valtteri Bottas burned even more powertrains, taking new engines to Italy, Russia and the United States.

This means that this weekend’s race in Brazil will be the fifth grand prix out of the last six that one of the Mercedes drivers has suffered a drop from the grid.

When asked in Brazil if he was surprised Mercedes had gone through such a series of changes, Tanabe said: “Yeah, I’m pretty surprised. Change the ICE week after week.

“So afterwards, I can’t believe what’s going on and why. But from the point of view of the PU manufacturer, it is disappointing to get a PU penalty for the driver.

While Mercedes has undergone a number of changes, Honda only needed one additional power unit for its Red Bull riders after losing engines due to crash damage earlier in the season.

Max Verstappen’s British Grand Prix unit was irreparably damaged in his crash at Silverstone, while Sergio Perez lost a power unit after a first crash in a corner in Hungary.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB16B

Photo By: Charles Coates / Motorsport images

Tanabe said he was confident Honda could make it through the remainder of the campaign without further change, with Verstappen adding his fourth power unit to the Russian GP.

“The current plan is that we can manage the PUs the rest of the season for all the drivers,” he said. “We had a few crashes during the season, then we lost a few PUs, but at the moment we have enough units for all the riders. “

When asked if he felt Honda could have finished the full season with just three engines without the unexpected damage from the crash, Tanabe said, “I believe so.”


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