Verstappen has been given a grid penalty for the Belgian GP in Formula 1 due to a gearbox change. Red Bull made the decision to replace Verstappen’s RB19 gearbox ahead of the Spa-Francorchamps race weekend, making it the fifth gearbox he has used this season. F1 drivers are allowed only four gearbox assemblies throughout the entire season, and Verstappen has become the first driver to exceed this limit.
The reason behind the gearbox change might be linked to the gear sync issues that Verstappen had been experiencing earlier in the season, although this hasn’t been confirmed. Despite the penalty, Red Bull strategically chose to make the swap at Spa because it offers good overtaking opportunities, and teams are more willing to accept grid drops at this track.
Considering Red Bull’s dominant performance this season, the five-place grid drop is not expected to significantly affect Verstappen’s chances of aiming for another victory. Verstappen expressed confidence in the speed of his car, especially after recent upgrades worked well at the Hungaroring.
Last year, Verstappen showcased an impressive performance at Spa when he started 14th on the grid and still managed to secure a dominant victory. While the F1 season is only halfway through, some other drivers are also on the verge of facing gearbox penalties due to using up their four allocations. Verstappen’s teammate Sergio Perez, as well as Alpine’s Pierre Gasly, and Haas’ duo of Nico Hulkenberg and Kevin Magnussen, are in the same situation.
Gasly and Hulkenberg are also running their final set of power unit components, which means they might need additional gearboxes if they opt for fresh engines. As the F1 season continues, there may be more decisions to make regarding penalties and technical choices for various teams and drivers.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Grid penalty
What is the reason for Verstappen’s grid penalty in the Belgian GP?
Verstappen received a grid penalty for the Belgian GP due to a gearbox change. Red Bull opted to fit a fifth gearbox to his RB19, exceeding the limit of four gearboxes allowed for the season.
Has Verstappen faced gear sync issues this season?
Yes, earlier in the season, Verstappen frequently complained about gear sync issues. However, it is not confirmed if this is directly related to the reason behind using so many gearboxes.
Why did Red Bull choose to change the gearbox at Spa?
Red Bull made the decision to swap gearboxes at Spa-Francorchamps because the Belgian track offers good overtaking opportunities, making it a place where teams are more comfortable accepting grid drops.
How might the grid penalty affect Verstappen’s chances of winning?
Despite the five-place grid drop, it is unlikely to significantly hinder Verstappen’s chances of targeting another win, given Red Bull’s dominant performance this season.
Are other drivers also facing gearbox penalties?
Yes, several drivers are on the bubble for gearbox penalties. Verstappen’s teammate Sergio Perez, along with Alpine’s Pierre Gasly and Haas duo Nico Hulkenberg and Kevin Magnussen, have also used up their allocation of four gearboxes.
How did Verstappen perform at Spa last year?
Last year, Verstappen started 14th on the grid in Belgium but managed to charge through the field and take a dominant victory.
What other factors might affect some drivers in terms of penalties?
Gasly and Hulkenberg are running their final allocation of power unit components, which could potentially lead to additional penalties if they decide to take fresh engines.