Revealed: The tiny loose screw that cost Verstappen a race

A seemingly minor oversight, specifically a forgotten loose screw, has been pinpointed as the probable cause behind Max Verstappen’s brake failure during the Melbourne Grand Prix, marking his first technical withdrawal in two years. Following initial denials of responsibility from brake supplier Brembo, Dr. Helmut Marko has clarified that the malfunction was not due to a defective caliper but was attributed to an “assembly issue.”

Reports from Auto Bild suggest that the mishap stemmed from a screw that was not adequately secured from the start. Dr. Marko elaborated on the incident, stating, “It was a combination of causes,” but reassured that the issue has been rectified. He further explained that the problem did not manifest abruptly at the race’s commencement but hinted at an underlying issue observed during the qualifying rounds, where Verstappen trailed behind teammate Sergio Perez in top speed. “This means that the brake may not have opened properly at this point,” Marko deduced.

Verstappen has acknowledged the mishap and informed that procedural adjustments have been made to prevent a recurrence: “The processes have been changed a little to ensure that something like this doesn’t happen again.”

In a contrasting turn of events for Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton, whose engine failure in Melbourne led to its complete write-off, Verstappen’s scenario seems more optimistic. The Honda engine initially installed in Verstappen’s car was replaced before the qualifying rounds, and according to Honda engineer Shintaro Orihara, it is under examination. Orihara conveyed optimism about the engine’s future usability post-repair, stating, “It’s still being checked, but I think it will be usable once it is repaired.” This presents a silver lining for Verstappen amidst the challenges faced during the Melbourne Grand Prix.


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