Max Verstappen has revealed that Aston Martin Red Bull Racing were forced to revert back to the B-Specification of Renault power unit for the Russian Grand Prix as the C-Spec is currently unable to race at high altitude venues.
Verstappen and team-mate Daniel Ricciardo will both go back to the B-spec this weekend at the Sochi Autodrom, with both likely to take grid penalties and start towards the back of the field as a result.
Ricciardo first ran with the C-Spec during the Italian Grand Prix weekend before Verstappen followed suit, but despite the update being more powerful than its predecessor, particularly in Qualifying, it cannot currently be used at high altitude, which they knew before taking the upgrade.
“Our C-spec cannot run at high altitude in Mexico and Brazil,” Verstappen is quoted as saying by Motorsport.com. “We also knew since we took the C-spec on that we had to take another B at one point.
“I think this is the best place to do it. Also to have a few more spare parts in case something breaks.”
Verstappen says the C-spec has given Red Bull a boost in Qualifying, but it is still unclear to whether it is a benefit under race conditions. However it was Qualifying where the team were often lacking compared to Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport and Scuderia Ferrari, so it was clear that they would be better off taking the C-spec when they could.
“The C-spec has a bit more power in qualifying but it’s the same or maybe a little bit slower in the race,” said Verstappen. “The recovery is not as good.
“But it’s all about qualifying so you would always want to take another tenth or one and a half tenth if the engine gives it to you. That’s why we decided to take the C-spec.”