Championship leader Max Verstappen's British GP ended just after his pole position start. Title rival Lewis Hamilton made contact with him at Copse, and the Dutch driver spun hard into the barriers, with an estimated impact of 51G picked up by in-car sensors.
Verstappen was taken to the medical center, and later to the hospital for further checks, but cleared out in the evening "without any major injuries", as it's stated in a press release from Red Bull. Unfortunately, his RB16B suffered the most damage: the chassis is damaged beyond repairs, and the power unit too could suffer the same fate.
The crash will hinder the future development of the car as well, as money for reparations and new car parts will be taken out of the resources initially devolved to upgrades because of the budget cap in place since the beginning of the season.
The main concern is the power unit: if it isn't salvageable, it'll require Red Bull to use the last allocated engine for Verstappen, having both him and his teammate Sergio Perez got the second one at the French GP.
This could potentially lead to him needing an additional fourth engine towards the end of the season, and cost him a grid penalty in the final, decisive rounds of the title fight.
Hovever, Honda F1 Technical Director Toyoharu Tanabe's words offer a shine of hope, as he said that, in spite of how much damaged the car appeared while it was removed off the track, from a first analysis it doesn't look as damaged as he thought, and that further controls will be run in Japan to confirm or deny his impression.
"When I first saw the images of the car being lifted, I thought there was a lot of damage, but in reality it seems that the damage is less than what we first saw," Tanabe opened.
While being more optimistic than after seeing the first images of the car, the Technical Director is cautious:
"However, the actual damage cannot be known from its appearance when it is installed in the car. So we would like to send it back to HRD in Sakura and check it before making a decision."
He also added that the effect, in term of damages, of an impact against the walls with that force it's not clear without more thorough checks: "I honestly don't know because the damage varies depending on the location."