Red Bull Formula 1 drivers Max Verstappen and Alexander Albon are set to take grid drops for this weekend’s Russian Grand Prix, with Honda introducing new power unit elements.

The Japanese engine manufacturer’s aggressive approach to its engine development this year has seen it already introduce four power units for the Red Bull and Toro Rosso drivers, with the latest iteration being split between races in Belgium and Italy.

With Red Bull not expecting to be particularly competitive at this weekend’s round at Sochi, it has opted to take on a new ‘Spec 4’ Internal Combustion Engine (ICU) for all four of its drivers, prioritising performance for the upcoming Japanese Grand Prix. 

Verstappen, Albon and Toro Rosso driver Pierre Gasly will all drop five positions from wherever they qualify in Russia, while Daniil Kvyat is set to start his home race from the back of the grid after changing all power unit elements.

Speaking ahead of the weekend, Honda technical director Toyoharu Tanabe said: “After the very high speeds in Monza, followed by the special requirements of a street circuit in Singapore, we come to a more conventional type of track in Sochi.

“Its main characteristics are a lot of 90 degree turns where, just like in Singapore, good driveability from the PU side will be an important factor.

“The straights are also quite long here and energy management will not be issue as we have plenty of data from the past.

“Despite experiencing some difficulties in Singapore, we still came away with a podium finish and now we have just a couple of days to prepare as well as possible, aiming for another positive result in Russia.”



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