Marko plays down Verstappen engine fears after Canadian GP practice problem

Max Verstappen's 2024 Canadian GP weekend began with technical issues, cutting short his second free practice session due to an ERS fault


The 2024 Canadian Grand Prix weekend began on a challenging note for Max Verstappen, not only due to the adverse weather conditions that troubled all drivers in the first two practice sessions. A technical fault also forced the reigning world champion to end FP2 prematurely.

Verstappen was fifth in FP1, completing only a few laps because of heavy rain that caused a long interruption. Less than 30 minutes into FP2, he returned to the pits after reporting a “smell of smoke” to his race engineer, Gianpiero Lambiase as smoke was visibly emanating from the rear of the RB20 as he returned to the pits.

After initial checks on the RB20, the team confirmed an issue with the Energy Recovery System (ERS). Mechanics are still working to understand the exact cause of the technical failure.

“Unfortunately, FP1 was heavily influenced by the weather conditions, and FP2 didn’t allow us to do many laps either,” Verstappen explained to F1TV after the session. “There was a suspected electrical problem, so the team asked me to stop in the pits. 

“They are now investigating the issue, and I’m sure we’ll figure it out. It’s not ideal because I wanted to do more laps and didn’t want to end the session this way. But now we just have to understand what happened and its implications for this weekend.”

Marko plays down engine fears

Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko played down the difficulties experienced on Friday in Montreal, confirming that the problem was with the ERS, and it was not too concerning since it occurred with an old power unit, not the new one introduced for the Canadian GP.

“It wasn’t a new engine but the old one,” Marko explained to the media after FP2. He confirmed an issue with the electrical part and the need to disassemble and carefully examine the power unit to determine the exact extent of the technical problem.

Nevertheless, Red Bull remain optimistic about their competitiveness in Montreal. Marko confirmed that the team identified and addressed some setup issues at the factory, dismissing the idea that their recent difficulties are due to an inherent problem with the car’s design. 

Despite the setbacks, there is cautious optimism within Red Bull with Marko stating: “At the moment, we seem stronger than in Monaco.”

John Smith
John Smith
Editor at and all round Motorsport journalist specialising in Formula 1, IndyCar and Formula E.
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