Honda has introduced “countermeasures” in an attempt to address the reliability issues it encountered with its Formula 1 engine after Red Bull suffered a double retirement at the Austrian Grand Prix.

Red Bull drivers Max Verstappen and Alex Albon were both forced into retirement during F1’s season-opener last weekend at the Red Bull Ring after suffering unrelated electrical problems.

Verstappen retired from second-place just 11 laps into the race after losing power in his Honda-powered RB16, while Albon also stopped in the closing stages following a coming together with Lewis Hamilton while battling for second.

Investigations into the issues started immediately and Honda has found what it hopes will prove a solution in the four-day gap between the first two races of the campaign in Austria.

Neither Honda power unit on either car was found to be damaged and Verstappen and Albon will use the same engines again for this weekend’s Styrian Grand Prix.

"The problems on the two Aston Martin Red Bull Racing cars in the last race were both electrical, but caused by different issues," said Honda F1 technical director Toyoharu Tanabe.

"We have been analysing both these matters together with the teams and we have put countermeasures in place for this weekend.

"As our power units do not have any damage caused by those issues, Max and Alex will use their same PUs this weekend. This weekend, we must aim to finish the race with all four cars and achieve a good result with them.

"It means that our data is up to date and relevant, although one factor that could affect our work is the forecast for rain and even thunderstorms over the coming weekend.”

Red Bull heads into this weekend’s second round sitting bottom of the constructors’ table following its double DNF.

Verstappen said he is hopeful of having a stronger weekend at the second race in Spielberg after struggling to match Mercedes for pace last time out.

“I feel good but of course the result was not what we wanted, which was to score a good amount of points and fight for the win,” he explained.

“I was looking good for a podium which I thought was easily possible because it was basically between Mercedes and myself on raw pace.

“But then you also look at how the whole race panned out, we could have scored a good amount of points against Lewis but it is what it is, we can’t change it and now I’m looking forward to hopefully having a more positive weekend.

“We were a bit down on pace compared to Mercedes in qualifying so we definitely need to close that gap to fight them in that area rather than on strategy.

“Our pace is usually a bit better in the race than in quali but there is still quite a bit of work to do which the engineers are flat out on. We have ideas and the direction to work on for this weekend so that’s positive.”

 

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