Both cars for Red Bull and Toro Rosso will take grid penalties at the Russian Grand Prix, meaning Daniil Kvyat will start from the back of the grid at his home race.
Honda has opted to fit new Spec 4 power units in all four cars in Russia, with the use of an additional internal combustion engine (ICE) resulting in five-place grid penalties for Max Verstappen, Alexander Albon and Pierre Gasly. Kvyat has a different replacement history on his car and as a result is changing a number of additional power unit elements, putting him to the back of the grid in Sochi.
There is no upgrade associated with the move, which Honda says is based on its power unit usage for the rest of the season. With the next race taking place in Japan, the move avoids any penalties at Honda’s home race at Suzuka.
“It’s alright,” Verstappen said of the penalty. “Last year we started from the back and overtaking didn’t seem like a big problem around here. Maybe the midfield teams are a little bit more competitive this year, but I think it should be alright. You might lose a little bit of time to the guys ahead, but realistically speaking, I think you would qualify fourth or fifth, so it’s not going to change a lot.
“I don’t think it’s going to hurt us a lot around here. It’s not as much as back of the grid, it’s only five places. That’s why I think we went for it.”
For Albon it is a second grid penalty in four races since joining Red Bull, but he doesn’t feel it affects his ability to impress his new team.
“I think in the end it’s OK,” Albon said. “Red Bull will know what they see, and just because we are taking a lot of penalties they are not going to ignore [it]. From my side it’s still just doing my job. They’ll know if it’s a good job or not, they have enough data to see how it’s been doing. I don’t seen it as frustrating at all.”