Red Bull adviser Dr Helmut Marko believes that the team have been able to diagnose the power unit issue that saw Max Verstappen qualify 10th in Hungary.
Coming into a race where Ferrari were expected to be quicker, Verstappen looked to be giving the Scuderia a run for their money during the first two qualifying sessions, although the same could not be said for team-mate Sergio Perez.
After ending Q1 in P13, the Mexican failed to get a clean lap together in the second session, so he was eliminated in 11th place.
All of the Austrian side’s hopes rested on Verstappen’s shoulders as a result, but he struggled on his first run, so could not get a representative lap time together.
As he left the pits for his final run, he reported that he was lacking power, so was given a series of commands to put into his dashboard, to no avail.
The 24-year-old ended 10th, culminating what had been a miserable day for the Bulls, but the silver lining was that they can change the faulty part of Verstappen’s power unit without picking up a grid penalty on Sunday.
“In the first run, he mis-braked and his front tyres suffered as a result. In the second run, he didn’t have the full engine power available,” explained Dr Marko.
“We think we know what it is, the exchange of this part is possible without penalty.”
There were suppositions ahead of this weekend that Red Bull were going to have to take engine penalties at some stage, and were planning to do so at a track like Monza, where it is easier to overtake.
In Hungary though, passing is difficult, so qualifying poorly was the last thing Red Bull wanted to happen on Saturday.
“Singapore, Monte Carlo and here in Hungary – these are the three tracks where you wouldn’t wish for something like that, we need a lot of luck in the race,” conceded Dr Marko.
George Russell took a shock pole as Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc had to settle for second and third respectively, so some comfort can be taken from that in the Red Bull camp.
“Of course that’s positive for us, because he’s in front of the Ferraris,” stated Dr Marko.
“We will fight and see that we can get the maximum out of it.”
Verstappen leads Leclerc by 63 points in the Drivers’ Standings going into Sunday’s race, while Red Bull have an 82-point lead over Ferrari in the teams’ fight.