The planned upgrade from Renault won’t be available for the Canadian GP so Renault, Red Bull & Toro Rosso will be making do with the current power available.
Red Bull are sitting in a proverbial ‘no mans land’ as best of the rest but not quick enough to challenge Ferrari or Mercedes. Frustrating for all but more so for Red Bull’s previous race winners, Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo.
In January Renault announced that their team, Red Bull Racing and Toro Rosso would be given an Evolution to the power unit for the Canadian GP. But since then, there have been various technical problems with internal combustion engine and energy recovery. Renault Sport manager Cyril Abiteboul confirmed “Unless reliability is guaranteed, there will be no update.”
Previously (2014), the then ‘works’ Renault team Red Bull Racing pushed through power upgrades on an unwilling Renault whilst threatening to quit the sport / change engine supplier (delete where necessary), resulting in some disastrous reliability issues for the team. Now the divorce is complete with Renault having their own team, they’re certainly less willing to be bullied into upgrading their power unit at the cost of reliability.
The Spanish GP last weekend highlighted the deficiencies between the top works teams and the customer teams. Only Ricciardo wasn’t lapped by Hamilton’s Mercedes and Vettel’s Ferrari. It is believed the Renault Power Unit is at least 30bhp behind these two teams.
Despite coming in 3rd and reaching the podium, Daniel Ricciardo in circumspect in his analysis of the result:
“We have got 3rd place with a little luck, but we’re happy to take it. But it is also clear to us that the distance to the front is still large. We have to go further from the chassis, but we also need more power from Renault. “
Even Sainz remarked how his Renault powered Toro Rosso was being passed along the main straight in Spain by the Sauber of Werhein using last year’s Ferrari Power Unit.
Red Bull’s ‘Spice boy’ Horner always available to spin some positive light on the situation remarking that “This does not reflect the true picture. About half of the race we had throttled power back to spare the engine. There was no danger to Daniel from behind, and he was unlikely to catch up with Hamilton and Vettel. “
Likely this was true but the fact that Red Bull felt it was impossible to reach the two front runners meant they had little faith in their engine output confirmed by Ricciardo’s parting statement saying “we have a lot of work to do”.
Engine power isn’t so much a factor for Monaco next on the calendar, and Daniel Ricciardo will be hoping to replicate last year’s pole position.