Verstappen: Honda engine changes not indicative of unreliability

Red Bull Racing will join Scuderia Toro Rosso in using Honda engines next year

Max Verstappen believes that Toro Rosso’s frequent engine changes are more strategic than reflective of a lack of reliability from Honda.

Brendon Hartley has already used six internal combustion engines this year, twice the allowance, and has also broken the limited for turbochargers, MGU-Hs and MGU-Ks, energy stores, and control electronics.

Scuderia Toro Rosso team-mate Pierre Gasly has used almost as many components, while every other driver has used fewer.

Red Bull Racing is joining its junior team in making the switch from Renault to Honda power next year, but Verstappen is unperturbed by the rate of engine changes at Toro Rosso.

“I don’t think they have had a lot of issues,” said the Dutchman.

“Most of the time, maybe they had a bad qualifying so then it doesn’t really make a lot of difference for them to take a new component, so that’s what they are doing.

“I’m not too worried. And they still have quite a few races coming up to understand the package, and for next year it’s going to be a new engine, it’s different.

“They learn from their mistakes, which is good. It’s happening on other brands, not only Honda. So, I’m not too worried.”

Hartley has notably required new components after major crashes in Spain and Britain, while Honda was quick to replace MGU-Hs and turbochargers on both cars after Gasly’s mechanical failure in Melbourne.

The Frenchman is currently 13th in the championship and Kiwi Hartley 19th, ahead of the scoreless Sergey Sirotkin, while Toro Rosso is eighth in the constructors’ standings.

Formula 1’s summer break ends with the Belgian Grand Prix on August 24-26.