Subscribe

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Motorsport prime

Discover premium content
Subscribe

Edition

Australia Australia
Formula 1 Austrian GP

Verstappen’s Austrian GP FP1 stoppage-then-resurgence explained

A sensor issue stopped the Dutch driver on the Red Bull Ring’s main straight in practice before he went on to top FP1

Marshals push the car of Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB20, back to his garage

Max Verstappen's bizarre Formula 1 Austrian Grand Prix practice session stoppage was caused by him hitting kerbs hard and disabling an oil pressure sensor, according to Helmut Marko.

Verstappen caused this weekend's sole one-hour practice action to be halted for nearly five minutes mid-way through when he pulled over on the pit straight lacking drive aboard his RB20.

This then rolled back down the Red Bull Ring's steep uphill pit straight, with marshals subsequently pushing Verstappen through a pitwall opening, from where he was returned to the Red Bull garage.

But the world champion was only confined to this for a few moments before rejoining the running and going on to set the fastest time, in a surprise turnaround given how serious the issue initially appeared and with the memories of his Montreal FP2 engine problem still fresh.

This was an Energy Recovery System issue that apparently badly damaged that unit's Internal Combustion Engine element and likely required Verstappen to serve a grid penalty later in the season.

Speaking after Verstappen then topped this evening's sprint qualifying session in Austria, Marko explained the issue to Red Bull's TV channel, ServusTV.

"We're very happy to have achieved this pole position," Marko said.

"In the first practice session, Max drove straight ahead in Turn 1 and unfortunately went over these humps [track-limits kerbs plus a big sausage kerb at the right-hander] with almost all four wheels and that disabled a sensor that indicates oil pressure, so theoretically there was no oil pressure.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB20

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB20

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

"So of course you have to turn it off to save the engine, but then we had all the luck in the world that it happened right there at the front [of the pits].

"That allowed [the car] to roll back, they were able to push it out, we deactivated the sensor and it continued - and we only lost maybe one or two laps."

When asked if Verstappen had risked a penalty in rolling back towards the marshals under the red flags, Marko replied: "I believe that our Jonathan Wheatley, our sporting director, has a very good handle on all these rules and is in communication with the stewards.

"And you can't roll back quickly anyway!"

After Red Bull's near defeats in Canada and Spain in the two most recent F1 races, Marko reckons the team being on top of the RB20's handling from the off at its home track was key to Verstappen edging McLaren's Lando Norris to sprint pole by just 0.093s.

"This time the car was also good right from the start," Marko explained.

"It's no secret: the last few races we've had to do three practice sessions and qualifying to get the balance right. This time the car was in a good balance right from the start and then of course Max did the lap."

Marko also said that in the other RB20, Sergio Perez's latest underwhelming qualifying result – he finished seventh in SQ3 – was down to the Mexican driver being stuck in traffic with Alpine's Esteban Ocon after leaving the pits in the frantic late pitlane exit stacking.

"I'd say Sergio was a bit unlucky," said Marko. "I think Ocon was in the way, otherwise he would have been further ahead. But for once it's a very pleasing start [to a weekend overall for Red Bull]."

Read Also:

Be part of Motorsport community

Join the conversation
Previous article Why isn’t David Croft doing Sky F1 commentary in Austria and who is his replacement, Harry Benjamin?
Next article Hamilton labels Austria sprint qualifying performance "pretty disastrous"

Top Comments

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Motorsport prime

Discover premium content
Subscribe

Edition

Australia Australia