Red Bull boss demands more from Renault

Sebastian Vettel in Austria
Sebastian Vettel in Austria

Christian Horner has launched a stinging attack on engine provider Renault after a lacklustre performance at Red Bull Racing’s home race in Austria.

In another disappointing weekend for the world champions, Renault-powered teams were dramatically off the pace compared to their Mercedes-powered competitors.

With Sebastian Vettel failing to make the top 10 in qualifying, and then grinding to a halt barely two laps into the race, team principal Christian Horner admitted he is beginning to lose patience with his engine supplier.

“It’s frustrating that we’re in the situation that we are,” Horner said.

“We’ve obviously had a lot of success with Renault. All of the races and all of the championships that we’ve achieved have been with Renault power, but the situation just isn’t improving at the moment.

“The reliability is unacceptable, the performance is unacceptable and there needs to be change at Renault.

“It can’t continue like this. It’s not good for Renault and it’s not good for Red Bull.”

Vettel’s race was effectively over before it even had a chance to begin. Making a decent start from 12th on the grid, he jumped up the order into the top 10.

But by lap 2, he lost power for 30 seconds and coasted to a halt out on the circuit. Pulling up at a marshall’s post to retire, the car spluttered back into life again and he was able to continue, albeit a lap down on the rest of the field.

Climbing back through the field, Vettel had to pit for a new nose when he ran into the back of Esteban Gutierrez’s Sauber.

With little to race for, the team agreed to retire the car, ending with it an extremely disappointing first half of the season.

The world champion said: “Obviously, it has been a bad first half of the season with a few retirements and other problems, but I guess it’s part of the game.

“It would be bad to say I got used to it, but obviously we have had a lot of problems so far already and I got calmer when the problem occurred.

“Our pace looked alright and we were able to go quite far on the soft tyre, but we were a lap down so in the end we decided to save some mileage.”

Daniel Ricciardo, winner last time out in Canada, had a fairly anonymous race to finish eighth.

After taking to the run-off area around the outside of Turn 1 on the first lap, Ricciardo slipped from fifth to ninth, and then 10th two laps later.

He climbed the order only when Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat retired, and with a last-lap move on Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg to rescue a eighth, capping an all-together miserable weekend at a circuit owned by Red Bull.

“It was frustrating today,” Ricciardo said. “It’s never nice going backwards on the first lap.

“I tried to hang around on the outside, which was the wrong thing to do, because you basically lose too much on the exit. We already struggle on the long straights as it is, but even more when you get a poor exit.

“From that point on we tried to push and catch the others, but we just didn’t have that much pace.

“It wasn’t until the last bit that we were able to overtake the Force India.

“The last lap move put a little smile on my face, but other than that it wasn’t a great race for us – we’ve got a bit of work to do.”

The next race is in two weeks time, and is the home race for the Tilbrook-based team, at Silverstone.