Red Bull, Honda preparing for 2019 engine penalties already
Honda Motorsport manager Masashi Yamamoto says the Japanese marque and Red Bull are already preparing to take engine penalties in 2019, with Helmut Marko prioritising speed over reliability. According to Yamamoto, Honda expect Red Bull to get through five power units this year – the limit is set at three.
Last year's Toro Rosso drivers Pierre Gasly and Brendon Hartley chewed their way through eight engines apiece last year in the team's first year with Honda, although this was largely influenced by a late-season push for development once Red Bull's senior team came on-board.
Title contenders Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel remained within the limit last year, suggesting that Max Verstappen may begin 2019 at a disadvantage, with Marko having bullishly claimed that the Dutchman ought to be targeting a championship bid.
Red Bull suffered badly with reliability in 2018, particularly Verstappen's now-departed teammate Daniel Ricciardo, who suffered more retirements than any other driver – eight.
Japanese outlet Sportiva quotes Yamamoto as saying that Red Bull will accept taking penalties in two races this year – with tactical decisions on where those grid drops will be taken highly likely.
Red Bull has targeted power-hungry tracks like Monza and Canada in the past for engine upgrades – and the subsequent penalties, with Ferrari and Mercedes still expected to hold an advantage in terms of raw horsepower this year.
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