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Helmut Marko

Red Bull reassures Verstappen fans after power unit woes

Red Bull advisor Dr Helmut Marko has explained the engine issues that besieged Max Verstappen in FP2 of the Canadian GP were not from any of his new power components for the weekend.

Verstappen Canada
To news overview © XPBimages

Max Verstappen endured another difficult start to an F1 weekend in Montreal, with weather and power unit issues severely hampering the Dutchman.

Although, Red Bull advisor Dr Helmut Marko has provided reassuring news, despite the limited track running for the triple-world champion.

Early into FP2, the 26-year-old was seen pulling his RB20 into the pits with smoke coming out. After the session, Marko explained it was due to a technical fault.

"It is a problem with the engine," the 81-year-old told Motorsport.com. "We need to take the engine out of the car to find the exact cause, but at least it's on the electrical side of the engine."

However, despite the damage, the Austrian was quick to quell concerns that it was from a new power unit component in the back of the Red Bull.

Verstappen is listed as running new power unit parts from his pool at the power-sensitive Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, but the affected component is believed to his ERS (energy recovery system), which was not replaced, with Marko confirming: "No, this is not the new engine, but an older variant."

Marko hopeful for dry FP3

With mixed and changeable weather conditions forecast throughout the weekend, Verstappen's luck in FP2 puts him on the back foot.

Difficult Fridays is nothing new to Red Bull of late. Having struggled - and recovered to pole position and victory - in Imola, the team was decidedly off the pace in Monaco. 

This time, there was nothing the constructors' champions could do to get back in the mix. Verstappen qualified and finished in sixth, whilst team-mate Sergio Perez was knocked out in Q1 before his race ended in the second corner.

The challenging conditions are set to continue in FP3 and qualifying, with the potential for a dry-wet race on Sunday. Given the limited running, Marko is hoping a dry final practice session can at least salvage some representative track time for the team's lead driver.

"It is indeed annoying that the first session was also largely wet and so we cannot draw any conclusions," he said. 

"In order to find a good set-up, let's hope that the final practice goes dry. If we get at least one dry practice, then it need not be so painful."

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