Max Verstappen’s engine has ‘issues to fix’ in worrying update ahead of 2022 campaign | F1 | sport
Max Verstappen’s engine has ‘issues to deal with’ as he prepares to defend his F1 title. The Red Bull driver clinched his first championship last season after beating Lewis Hamilton in the final Grand Prix of the season in Abu Dhabi.
The Honda power unit that Red Bull is expected to use this season is almost ready, with the Japanese company continuing to manufacture them on behalf of the team’s Red Bull Powertrains arm.
But Honda’s head of R&D at Sakura headquarters, Yasuaki Asaki, says there’s still work to be done.
“There are always details and issues to work out,” he told Motorsport.com. “But the concept, the basic part, had to be done last year to be ready for the season.
“The most important thing to deal with is the E10 fuel. I think that’s all there is to it.
“The engine frame has already been renewed, so we have made changes to get the best performance from the E10 fuel.
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“It’s a secret,” Asaki said. “Other companies seem to be saying it will be about the same as last year.
“But I think the fact that they are making such an announcement means they are struggling to produce the same level of power as last year.”
The new F1 season is set to start at the end of March, with Verstappen looking to get the better of Hamilton for a second consecutive season.
The Mercedes driver has not spoken publicly since his post-race interview in Abu Dhabi after the season ended controversially.
Hamilton had led for most of the race and appeared to be heading for the title before a safety car was deployed following an accident by Williams’ Nicholas Latifi.
Verstappen took the opportunity to visit the pits to get fresh tires during the delay, with Hamilton staying out to maintain track position.
Five drivers were then allowed to overtake and pull away from the title rivals.
And Verstappen was then allowed to level Hamilton for a one-round shootout to decide the winner.
The Dutchman took full advantage of his new tires and took the win as he denied Hamilton a record eighth championship.