Explained: Issue That Almost Destroyed Verstappen's Sprint Weekend

Saturday, 29 June 2024 at 14:00
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Red Bull's motorsport advisor, Helmut Marko, explained what happened to Max Verstappen's car during the FP1 session ahead of the 2024 Austrian Grand Prix Sprint Weekend.
The 11th round of the 2024 season takes place at Red Bull Ring in Austria. This weekend is a special weekend for Red Bull Racing and Max Verstappen, as it is considered a home race for the team from Milton Keynes.
Moreover, the Austrian GP is one of the races with the highest attendance of Verstappen's Dutch fans. Consequently, the whole Austrian team wanted to perform well at this venue.
What might have prevented them from doing so was the issue that the triple World Champion encountered with his car during the FP1 session.
The Dutchman encountered an unknown (at that point) issue possibly related to the power unit and had to stop on the side of the start/ finish straight. Describing the problem for the ServusTV, Helmut Marko said:

"In the first practice session, Max drove straight ahead in turn one and unfortunately almost went over the humps with all four wheels, and that disabled a sensor that shows the oil pressure. So, theoretically, there was no oil pressure."

Luckily, Verstappen couldn't have stopped his car in a better place as it was then very easily rolled back into the pits. As the issue that Red Bull identified wasn't critical, it was quickly reset, and the 26-year-old went on with his session.

"Of course, you have to make sure that you can save the engine. But then we were all lucky in the world that it happened right there in front."

"That allowed him to roll back, they were able to push him out, we deactivated the sensor and we carried on."

The fact that Verstappen could have continued in his session was crucial for further dialing in the right setup, and it paid off as the triple World Champion then snatched the pole in qualifying for the Sprint and won the Sprint as well.
If the triple World Champion had to retire his car, everything might have been entirely different. Marko added:

"We are very happy that we managed to achieve this pole position. This time, the car was well balanced from the start, and then, of course, Max managed to complete the lap."