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Verstappen warned: 'Honda engine only lasts four races'

Verstappen warned: 'Honda engine only lasts four races'

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Verstappen warned: 'Honda engine only lasts four races'

Verstappen warned: 'Honda engine only lasts four races'

Jacque Villeneuve has poured cold water on Red Bull's resurgence in Formula 1 before the summer break, suggesting the upturn in form is down to stretching Honda's power unit to unmanageable levels.

Notwithstanding Pierre Gasly's struggles, Red Bull ended the first section of 2019 as the form outfit thanks to a pair of Max Verstappen victories and fine performances in Hungary and Great Britain, where further points were perhaps unjustly spilled.

A new front wing aided Red Bull's breakthrough win in Austria, although it was later confirmed that Honda had been convinced to up the power in Spielberg to aid Verstappen's slicing race through the field.

Red Bull are yet to serve engine-related penalties in 2019. Although power unit parts in their pool remain available to use, Honda's upgrade programme would see Verstappen and new team-mate Alex Albon run with a downgraded engine in effect if they were used.

Villeneuve expects Honda to introduce new upgraded parts, which would likely see Verstappen and Albon lumbered with grid penalties, likely halting their charge over the remaining nine races.

"The problem is that Honda will face penalties in the second half of the season," Villeneuve told Motorsport-Magazin.com.

"They have an engine that only lasts three or four races, which is why they have the power, they are not trying to make seven races.

"Mercedes and Ferrari could do that, and then they would have 30 horsepower more."

Despite Albon having not raced for Red Bull this year, engine penalties are attached to the car, not driver, so the Thai driver picks up Gasly's parts allocation, with the Frenchman doing likewise on Albon's car on his return to Toro Rosso.

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