The new ‘Spec 4’ engine will force Verstappen’s new Red Bull teammate Alex Albon and driver Daniil Kvyat to start at the back of the grid for the power-sensitive Belgian circuit.

However, Verstappen and , who has been demoted from to as of this weekend, will not use the upgraded engine.

“We are introducing the Spec 4 version of our engine at this event,” said ’s F1 technical director Toyoharu Tanabe.

“As usual, we have focused on improving both reliability and performance, in the hope of achieving even better results with both teams in this part of the season.

“Our plan is that only Albon and Kvyat will run it at Spa, for strategic reasons, looking at the rest of the season as a whole.”

That means Austran and German GP winner Verstappen will likely complete the Belgian weekend with the Spec 3 engine he has used since the French GP in June.

In theory he would switch to the Spec 4 engine for next week’s Italian GP at , another power-sensitive circuit where it would be easier for him to make up ground from a back-of-the-grid start.

This would then give him the Spec 4 to use in , a track will eye victory, without worrying about grid penalties there.

has enjoyed a perfect reliability record with its new engine partner this year, although has cycled through more engines than its rivals and because of ’s programme.

introduced its first upgrade of the year in Azerbaijan and its second in France, whereas and entered the summer break having only used two specifications.

’s decision to swap Gasly with erstwhile driver Albon also has implications for the two drivers’ engine allocations.

The rules state that the first time a driver receives a 10-place grid penalty the first time they use an additional engine element, and only a five-place drop for further additional elements.

However, when a driver changes teams he takes over the engine allocation of the driver he replaces: so Albon and Gasly take over one another’s engine numbers.


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