Red Bull changes power unit on second day of testing

by Sudha Sundararaj

The Red Bull Racing team had a second solid day of testing even as they changed the Honda Power Unit (PU) for the afternoon session. Alexander Albon was at the wheel of the RB16-Honda for the first time.

Albon was fourth on the time charts as he put in 134 laps during the day. The team concentrated on their long run performance for a second day in a row.

Albon was comfortable in the new Red Bull challenger on his first day of testing. Albon said: “It was a good first day with the RB16. After Max’s running yesterday we carried on the work today and tried a few things that he tried. Comments wise we were very similar which is always positive. We lost some time in the middle of the day due to an investigation on the power unit but other than that it was pretty smooth.

“Over the winter we have addressed some of the areas where we felt we were struggling and I felt pretty comfortable in the car straight away. It’s always nice to get back in the car and you always feel it on your first day back but it was good out there and the car is feeling strong.”

Guillaume Rocquelin, Head of Race Engineering, said the change of power units was only a precautionary measure. The drivers have a maximum allocation of three engines each for the whole season. So the reliability of the Honda engines is key to the Red Bull team mounting a challenge in both the championships.

Rocquelin said: “We had another very productive day with the RB16 today and although we didn’t complete quite as many laps as yesterday, we once again got through all of the test items on the list. We did have a small issue just before lunch when the Honda guys noticed something in the data and we therefore elected to perform a precautionary engine change.

“They’ve done a thorough check and there are no problems, so the original PU will be back in the car tomorrow. We also have a change to our usual plan tomorrow in that due to the large amount of laps being run and the compressed nature of these tests, we’ll be splitting driver duties. Max will be out in the morning and Alex in the afternoon. All going to plan, it will be another extremely busy day and hopefully a productive one.”

Both Red Bull drivers will split testing duties on the last day of the first pre-season test for the 2020 season.

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