Verstappen slammed into Copse’s corner barriers in the opening lap of the race on Sunday, after being involved in a collision with his F1 title rival Lewis Hamilton.

Onboard sensors estimated the impact to have been recorded at 51G, which was the biggest crash of Verstappen’s career.

Red Bull fears the RB16B chassis may be losing value, and some fear the Honda powertrain may have suffered irreparable damage as well.

If so, it could force Verstappen to take the third and final driver of his 2021 allowance in the next race in Hungary.

This would then likely put it on a duty cycle that would require a fourth motor – and therefore a grid penalty – towards the end of the campaign.

With the F1 title battle between Red Bull and Mercedes so finely balanced, a late-season grid penalty could prove costly and put rivals ahead.

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Honda F1 technical director Toyoharu Tanabe said he feared the worst for the powertrain when footage of Verstappen’s wrecked car was shown.

However, he says the initial post-race analysis offered some optimism about the situation – although a full inspection is needed in Japan to be completely sure.

“When I first saw the footage of the lifted car, I thought there had been a lot of damage,” Tanabe said.

“But in reality it looks like the damage is less than what we first saw. However, the actual damage cannot be known from its appearance when installed in the car.

“So we would like to send it back to HRD at Sakura and check it before making a decision.”

When asked what the consequences were on an engine from a 51G impact, Tanabe said, “Honestly, I don’t know because the damage varies depending on location.”

Red Bull itself will face new cost cap issues in the aftermath of the crash, with any additional spending on repairs and the production of new parts falling out of the budget that could have been focused on development.

Estimates earlier this year put Mercedes facing an additional £ 1million bill from the wreckage of Valtteri Bottas at Emilia Romagna’s GP.


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