Red Bull have denied that Max Verstappen's car is set to be fitted with a new "super-engine" for the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.
Rumours emerged earlier this week, reported by other outlets, that the Dutch driver would take on a fresh engine for this weekend's race, with Honda running a more aggressive power mapping in a bid to fight back against Mercedes' self-titled "spicy engine".
Mercedes introduced a fresh engine for Lewis Hamilton at the Brazilian Grand Prix, with the resulting five-place grid penalty doing nothing to prevent him from storming to victory as he enjoyed the advantage of a fresh ICE (Internal Combustion Engine), which was also rumoured to be running in a higher power mapping with the obvious trade-off of longevity.
The rumour about Verstappen was that Honda were set to follow suit with an engine that would run closer to its performance peak, with it only having to complete two races.
But a Red Bull spokesperson has confirmed to RacingNews365.com that these reports are untrue, and that there are no plans for Red Bull to field Verstappen with a fresh engine, or that a grid penalty is imminent.
Verstappen is understood to still have two engines within his allocation, both of which have considerable mileage on them.
Honda's degradation not as dramatic as Mercedes'
Mercedes have been open this season about their power units degrading quite quickly, meaning that even with the "spicy engine" from Brazil, Hamilton's power advantage might not be quite as evident at the Jeddah street track as it was at Interlagos.
Honda, by contrast, are understood to be able to achieve a much more consistent power output across the lifespan of their engines, exploiting more potential without reliability concerns - a luxury Mercedes don't have.
This may explain why there hasn't been any urgency to give Verstappen a fresh engine for the power-hungry Saudi Arabia venue, as the returns for Red Bull simply may not be there in the way that they can be for Mercedes.
Could it happen in Abu Dhabi?
While there are no plans for a new engine at Jeddah, the team aren't ruling out the possibility of a fresh engine for the season finale in Abu Dhabi.
"An engine change is not planned in Saudi Arabia at the moment," Red Bull's Helmut Marko told F1-Insider.com. "If it is, it will come in Abu Dhabi."
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