Daniel Ricciardo ended his race in Sochi on the fifth lap having told his team about a smoke coming from the brakes of the rear wheel, the Australian was then promptly ordered to his pit box.
His crew had to use the fire extinguisher to put out the flames on the rear wheel thus finishing the race prematurely. Team mate Max Verstappen also complained about his brakes during the race, but managed to finish fifth having moving the brake bias forward after receiving an instruction from the pit wall.
The good Doctor Helmet Marko explains; “The brake defect arose because we needed it to go to it’s limit; the surrounding rim temperature in the rear tyre got too hot”
A worrying situation for the team, rear tyres running this hot could be a fundamental problem inherent in the RB13 at a cost of their brake reliability. A lack of cooling has been a trait of Red Bull’s designer Adrian Newey in the past when seeking marginal gains.
“The brakes are getting too hot and we couldn’t see that on the data in time, otherwise we would have told him to put the brake bias immediately forward, just as we did with Max,”
So the ever fortunate Max Verstappen benefitted somewhat by the misfortune of his Australian team mate’s demise.
Unusually it seems that Red Bull are struggling with their peripheral car parts. In the past engine supplier Renault were the focus of their reliability complaints. It’s clear from Verstappen’s water pump issues that Red bull are not on top form in 2017 as both water and fuel pumps are manufactured in Milton Keynes and Toro Rosso experienced similar issues with their shared parts.
Red Bull’s chances of crowning either Daniel or Max with the Drivers Title looks set to be a fading dream in 2017.