In the wake of the Dutchman’s high-speed accident at Silverstone a fortnight ago, there had been concerns that the engine would be a complete write-off.

Honda had to fly it back to its Japanese R&D facilities in Sakura for a deep analysis, and only after that could it judge whether or not it was salvageable.

But despite heavy external damage to some components, it is understood that the initial investigation has pointed to the sealed parts of the power unit actually having come through the 51g impact.

By replacing as many of the free components as possible, Honda has some optimism that the engine – which is power unit number two of the season – can race on unaffected.

However, while laboratory analysis has given some cause for hope that Honda will not need to introduce a fresh engine already, the Japanese car maker still needs to run it on track to be completely sure.

F1’s strict testing rules make it virtually impossible to fit the engine to a car and give it a proper run out away from a grand prix weekend, so the plan is now for it to be tested at the Hungaroring.

The British GP power unit is therefore expected to be fitted to Verstappen’s car for Friday practice, so it can be properly analysed and looked at.

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Once that initial running is done, then Honda will be able to make a final call on what its engine plans can be for the remainder of the weekend and the rest of the season.

If the power unit is okay, then Honda will keep it in its pool and bring it back out again for races.

However, if it decides that the engine has actually sustained damage, then Honda and Red Bull will have to make a choice about when it would need to introduce a third and final power unit for events.

With the Hungaroring not being a power sensitive track, it is possible that Red Bull and Honda could elect to go back to their first power unit for this weekend’s race anyway.

Other manufacturers are already likely to revert to their previous spec units in a bid to save their latest engines for the high-speed demands of Spa and Monza.

Introducing a third power unit already would not incur a penalty or Verstappen yet, but would open the door to one later in the season as the team would struggle to finish the campaign without needing a fourth unit.



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