Max Verstappen and Pierre Gasly will receive grid penalties at this weekend’s Italian Grand Prix after Honda confirmed it would be introducing its latest-spec Formula 1 engine for both drivers. 

The Japanese manufacturer opted to split the introduction its ‘Spec 4’ power unit between back-to-back races in Belgium and Italy, with new Red Bull recruit Alexander Albon and Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat taking grid drops at Spa.

Honda will run the latest upgrade with all four drivers for the first time at Monza, with Verstappen and Gasly taking subsequent penalties at a circuit neither team is expecting to be particularly competitive at given its power-hungry nature.

“From a PU point of view, the main development is that we plan to run the Spec 4 PU with all four drivers for the first time, after just Albon and Kvyat ran it in Belgium,” said Honda technical director Toyoharu Tanabe.

“For their first race with Spec 4, Gasly and Verstappen will therefore take grid penalties and start from the back of grid, but we believe they can still race strongly on Sunday.

“We gathered useful data in Spa, which we have used to make changes to PU settings and calibration in preparation for this race.

“We will try to maximize the potential of Spec 4 and hope to get another positive result, maintaining the momentum we gained in Spa.”

The introduction of Honda’s ‘Spec 4’ engine after just 13 races reflects its aggressive development approach this year in its bid to reduce the deficit to rivals Ferrari and Mercedes.

 

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