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Red Bull make several changes to Verstappen's car before Australian GP

Max Verstappen's car was up on jacks in the Red Bull garage ahead of the Australian Grand Prix, with special attention being paid to the gearbox.

Red Bull mechanics were seen working away on Max Verstappen's car a few hours before the Australian Grand Prix, prompting speculation of an issue and a potential penalty. However, a source within the team explained to RacingNews365.com that it was simply a pre-race inspection, with no problems reported and no risk of a penalty. Documentation subsequently issued by the FIA confirmed several changes were made to Verstappen's car between qualifying on Saturday and the race on Sunday. The changes include a new clutch actuator, gearbox hydraulic system and actuators, clutch break-out box and parameter changes associated with the clutch actuator and gearbox hydraulic system replacement. With no penalty threat, Verstappen will retain his place on the front row of the grid for the 58-lap race, alongside pole-sitting Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc.

Car changes and grid penalties elsewhere

One driver forced to change several gearbox elements post-qualifying was Williams' Nicholas Latifi, following his bizarre clash with Aston Martin rival Lance Stroll, though he did so without exceeding the season limit and taking a penalty. Stroll was given a three-place grid drop for the incident and will start 19th, ahead of only Alex Albon, who was excluded from qualifying in the other Williams after stopping on track and failing to provide the required fuel sample. In other news, Alpine have confirmed that small damage to an oil ring was found on Fernando Alonso's car, which caused it to cut out mid-corner and trigger his Q3 crash – after penalty-free repairs, he will start 10th. Several other teams made relatively minor changes to their cars under parc ferme conditions ahead of the race, all without penalty.

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