Red Bull's Max Verstappen believes that possible grid penalties will be worth it if new power unit suppliers Honda can make improvement and close up to its rivals.
It is understood that Honda is to introduce an upgraded 'Spec 2' engine for both Red Bull and sister team Toro Rosso for this weekends Azerbaijan Grand Prix.
The upgrade means that Red Bull will move on to their second of three permitted internal combustion engines of the season, while Toro Rosso will move on to their third, meaning that grid penalties will be inevitable for the team later in the season, as they will go beyond the limit of three components in a season.
However, Max Verstappen believes this is not a problem as long as Honda can make the gains
“I am really happy because they keep pushing really hard to bring updates so that is always good,” said Verstappen. "I think last year I showed that even if you start at the back you can still finish on the podium like for example in Austin.
"I don’t think it is a major problem.I am happy if we can say by the end of the season that we have really closed the gap to Ferrari and if we use a few more engines then that is fine.”
Honda has had a rough time since its return to F1 in 2015, suffering from both performance and reliability during their partnership with McLaren that lasted three seasons.
Honda then joined Toro Rosso in 2018 where significant improvements saw current Red Bull driver Pierre Gasly give the supplier their best finish in F1 since their return with fourth place at the 2018 Bahrain Grand Prix.
Red Bull announced last summer that they would partner Honda for 2019 and have been so far contempt with their new power unit supplier. A
t this year's season opener last March, Max Verstappen gave the Japanese supplier their first F1 podium in the current V6 turbo hybrid era when he passed Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel in the closing stages of the race and finished third.
“I am happy that they did it [introducing Spec 2] and hopefully we can run that engine longer than compared to the first one, which we can still use, there is no problem with it,” Verstappen added. “I think in the race we are more competitive.
"In qualifying it is mainly just Ferrari that stands out, it is massive, but like I said before they have found something in their engine that really works so it is good. It gives Honda good motivation to work even harder which they do.”