Formula 1 World Champions Red Bull have called for change at engine partners Renault after an “unacceptable” performance in the Austrian Grand Prix which saw only one of their four cars (including Toro Rosso) finish the race on their home track.
Quadruple world champion Sebastian Vettel retired from the race at Spielberg with an electronics problem, his third failure to finish this season due to an issue with the new V6 turbo hybrid power unit.
“The reliability is unacceptable. The performance is unacceptable. There needs to be change at Renault,” Team Principal Christian Horner told reporters. “It can’t continue like this. It’s not good for Renault and it’s not good for Red Bull.”
The champions, winner of both titles for the past four years with Renault power, are now 158 points behind leaders Mercedes after eight races.
Australian Daniel Ricciardo won the previous Canadian Grand Prix but was a distant eighth on Sunday.
Renault Sport F1’s Deputy Managing Director Rob White said that the French manufacturer, who started the year well behind Mercedes on performance, admitted, “The anxiety that Christian feels, and the frustration he feels after a result that is not at the full potential of the performance of car and power unit, is completely understandable and shared by us.”
“We know what is expected of us and individually and collectively we must buckle down in the right direction,” added White.
Renault’s Rémi Taffin summed up the sentiment in the Renault camp immediately after the race at Red Bull Ring, “Safe to say it’s been a very tough weekend for us. We came here believing that the circuit would not suit the characteristics of the Renault Energy F1 Power.”
He added, “The [Renault] Power Unit is not strong on the straights but there are many other good qualities to it, which we have not been able to show today.”
“Unfortunately we also experienced some issues, which have put us in a negative light. With Sebastian’s car the team experienced an issue linked to switching maps at the start. We will look at why this happened as it cost the team a lot of valuable points.”
“It could be an issue with our software but it could also be linked to common software – in either case it clearly needs a lot of investigation,” admitted Taffin.
Horner made clear that Red Bull would stay with Renault next season, when Honda are due to make their return as partners to McLaren, but he wanted to see a big improvement. The only other current F1 engine manufacturers are Mercedes and Ferrari.
“We need to work together as partners. There will not be another engine in the back of the car next year, but we want to be competitive and we want to run at the front,” said Horner.
“Something needs to happen because whatever’s being done there at the moment isn’t working. It’s not our business, it’s not our responsibility. We’re the end user and it’s just frustrating that it’s not where it needs to be at the moment,” added the Briton. (Reuters)