Red Bull Honda engine change precautionary

Red Bull has confirmed that their Honda engine change at lunchtime during testing on Thursday was a precautionary measure.

Alex Albon took over the reins of the Red Bull RB16 for the day, after Max Verstappen spent the opening day in the car, and the 23-year-old completed 134 laps, setting a best time of 1m17.912s.

But, the day was not without issue as the Milton Keynes-based team saw an issue with the engine in the data, and so the Honda powerplant was changed during the lunch period.

With the Honda engine replaced for the afternoon, the old engine was inspected but no issues were found.

Speaking about the engine replacement, Red Bull Head of Race Engineering Guillaume Rocquelin said: “We had another very productive day with the RB16 today and although we didn’t complete quite as many laps as yesterday, we once again got through all of the test items on the list.

“We did have a small issue just before lunch when the Honda guys noticed something in the data and we therefore elected to perform a precautionary engine change.

“They’ve done a thorough check and there are no problems, so the original PU will be back in the car tomorrow.

“We also have a change to our usual plan tomorrow in that due to the large amount of laps being run and the compressed nature of these tests, we’ll be splitting driver duties.

“Max will be out in the morning and Alex in the afternoon. All going to plan, it will be another extremely busy day and hopefully a productive one.”

Having had his first real taste of the RB16, Albon was comfortable with the new car and commented that it is “feeling strong”.

“It was a good first day with the RB16.” commented Albon.

“After Max’s running yesterday we carried on the work today and tried a few things that he tried.

“We lost some time in the middle of the day due to an investigation on the power unit but other than that it was pretty smooth.

“Over the winter we have addressed some of the areas where we felt we were struggling and I felt pretty comfortable in the car straight away.

“It’s always nice to get back in the car and you always feel it on your first day back but it was good out there and the car is feeling strong.”