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Verstappen: Honda must solve 'mystery' behind poor starts

  • Published on 03 Sep 2019 17:44
  • comments 8
  • By: Fergal Walsh

Max Verstappen says his inconsistent starts are a 'mystery' that Red Bull's engine supplier Honda must solve. 

Verstappen lost positions off the line at the start of the Belgian Grand Prix on Sunday, before he made contact with Kimi Raikkonen at Turn 1.

The Dutchman sustained suspension damage and found himself in the wall at Eau Rouge, suffering his first retirement since last year's Hungarian Grand Prix.

Verstappen, who has had a number of poor getaways this year, says the root of the problem lies with Honda - and has called on the Japanese manufacturer to find a solution. 

"We have a certain procedure which needs to be as steady as possible," Verstappen told Ziggo Sport. "I have been doing that for four years now at Red Bull, but we are struggling this year to keep the wheel spin steady.

"There is even a difference with every engine," the former Toro Rosso driver continued. "So it’s always a mystery if it will be okay or not.

"This year it’s gone wrong quite a few times, so we very well know what we need to work on. At this moment, we haven’t been able to keep it steady yet.

"Looking at the entire season, we were the second-best team regarding the starts last year. The year before that also, so I really don’t think that we are suddenly unable to do a good start.

"The procedure with the clutch is the same. We are talking millimetres here, it’s that precise. But apart from that, it’s still always unknown how the engine will handle your input. Sometimes there can be a delay or vice versa.

"How aggressively the clutch is set can also be controlled by the team. I just need to focus on following the same procedure every time, but you are also dependent on things that are also involved with it."

Verstappen added that Honda is currently looking into the issue, but knows that certain things take time to work out.

"You can try out a lot during testing and Honda is currently busy with that," he confirmed. "They can see things that need to be improved, but it takes time. That is because it has to do with some characteristics of the engine."

Replies (8)

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  • "the former Toro Rosso driver" While I find the article to be wellwritten, I'd probably refrain from this term. I understand the need to vary one's vocabulary, but it's a while ago since Max was in the TR camp, and using such terms can make it easy for a reader to mix him up with e.g Albon or any of the other former TR drivers, of which we have quite a few. :)

    • + 0
    • Sep 3 2019 - 18:45
  • f1ski

    Posts: 726

    poorly worded by max. His start the reaction to it and crash are reminiscent to his driving not to long ago. I think he has created a level of urgency in his mind leading to problems. Turbo lag now starts perhaps a meeting with the team and tests to isolate the issue. Or perhaps he is setting himself up to leave

    • + 0
    • Sep 3 2019 - 18:55
  • Mansell

    Posts: 104

    Going full alonso there, Why not look at the component that drops the clutch eg yourself before calling honda out

    • + 1
    • Sep 3 2019 - 19:54
    • I agree to some extent, however here is one occasion there I could see it being a PU-related thing. Unfortunately we don't really have a competent reference to pit Max' starts against, but Gasly reported similar issues and had similarly poor starts.

      • + 0
      • Sep 3 2019 - 20:17
    • Honda was absolute trash while at McLaren, I fail to see the comparison. The real comparison I see is against Max teammates, who haven't experiences the same woes he has. Lewis used similar excuses in 2016 with his poor starts. Max, just like Lewis, will get over the poor starts. But I don't think it's a Honda issue

      • + 0
      • Sep 4 2019 - 03:18
    • It's called deflection. In other words, I crashed because I was trying to make up for a bad start, so it wasn't my fault. However, I did hear an interview with Max shortly after the race where he did kind of own up to the crash, kind of. Paraphrasing, Kimi didn't see me there and I had nowhere to go. Still playing the blame game, but taking a little bit of responsibility. He's a good driver, but I hope nobody gets seriously injured while he's taking a very long time maturing into a great driver.

      • + 0
      • Sep 4 2019 - 07:41
    • 21 finished races, one misstake and he is back to old habits again. Really poor comments here.
      There is a rpm drop in the Honda engine which causes the major issue of this problem, that's why Honda has to look into it. All 4 drivers have this issue, but it isn't noticed because they start further up the grid

      • + 0
      • Sep 4 2019 - 12:08
  • boudy

    Posts: 1,168

    For sure it was a rather optimistic move on Kimi which he would have been better not to do. Both drivers fail to finish the race anywhere near the positions that they should have been.

    Bad starts seem to be an issue with the RBH at the moment. Max is just re-iterating the issue. I am just glad no one got injured during the F1 race. The statement in the comments that Verstappen isn't a great driver is nonsense, just check Hamilton's comments about Max.

    Any team would have him in a flash they would make the seat available for him, that includes Ferrari and Mercedes.

    • + 0
    • Sep 4 2019 - 22:45

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