Renault apologise to Red Bull as champions suffer rare double DNF

Sebastian Vettel during the Italian Formula One Grand Prix at the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza on September 9, 2012 in Monza, Italy.

Sebastian Vettel walks back through the pitlane after an alternator problem ended his Italian GP afternoon prematurely

Sep.10 (Reuters) Engine suppliers Renault apologised to Formula One World Champions Red Bull at the Italian Grand Prix on Sunday after the team failed to score a point in the race – the first time since the 2010 season.

Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB8 alongside Mark Webber (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB8. Formula One World Championship, Rd 13, Italian Grand Prix, Race, Monza, Italy, Sunday 9 September 2012.Double world champion Sebastian Vettel rolled to a halt after being told by his engineer to urgently stop the car as the team had diagnosed as an alternator failure – the same problem that denied the German a victory in Valencia in June when he started on pole.

Australian Mark Webber retired after inflicting too much damage on his tyres to continue safely. The last time Red Bull drew such a blank was in South Korea in October 2010.

“We changed the alternator on Sebastian’s car yesterday, but unfortunately we had the same failure in the race,” said Renault engineer Cyril Dumont.

“We are still looking into why this happened, but we do know that even though the alternator was being operated entirely within the prescribed range, the part itself overheated and shut off the power supply.

“We have to apologise to Red Bull Racing as clearly this has hurt us in the Championship. We have no option but to sort it out, and it will still be a priority before Singapore,” he added.

Red Bull pit crew during the Italian Formula One Grand Prix at the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza on September 9, 2012 in Monza, Italy.Vettel, now fourth in the championship and 39 points off the lead after starting the day second, said he knew he had a problem about 300 metres before the car stopped when his pit wall told him to pull over immediately to save the engine.

He had by then already collected a drive-through penalty for forcing Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso onto the grass and gravel at 330km/h.

Team principal Christian Horner said the two failures had been extremely costly, even if Red Bull still led the constructors’ standings by 29 points from McLaren, with seven races remaining.

“Very disappointing but we need to work with Renault to try and understand it and make sure it doesn’t happen again,” he told reporters.

“Sebastian did nothing wrong. He drove as hard as he could and this circuit unfortunately exposes our weakness.”

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  • Disgusted with 2012

    Renault, or more accurately Marelli, is now directly responsible for Vettel’s deficit in the WDC today. It’s so rare for a single part to be the cause of the same failure for the same driver, in two critical races, one must wonder what is really happening. For the conspiracy theorists, the first failure favoring Alonso was at Alonso’s home track Valencia, now the second at Ferrari’s favored track Monza. The alternator used by Renault is from Magnetti Marelli, an Italian company located just 1 hour north of Modena. While I don’t believe in such a conspiracy, unless Renault or Marelli is so stupid as to believe they could get away with something this blatant, one must wonder why Vettel’s car has had so many issues with this one part – three times now, while only one other suffered (Grosjean) a similar issue.

  • Disgusted with 2012

    Correction: The alternators are Renault parts, using components from sub contractors, which could include internals from Magnetti Marelli, as has been stated by Renault’s tech director in prior discussions – so the conspiracy theory begins to crumble… for those so inclined. This puts the brunt of Vettel’s WDC struggles as aggravated by two DNF’s caused by the same issue squarely at the feet of Renault.

  • McLaren Fan

    @Disgusted with 2012
    The thing I read was also the fact that the alternator gets cooked due to lack of cooling down to Newey having the rear of the car tightly packed and the restricted air flow.
    The alternator on the Lotus was also starting to fail (Not Kimi’s).
    Webber had an older alternator so not equal treatment for the drivers.