Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo has been the highest scorer of the four drivers using Renault power in the two latest rounds with a ninth place result in China and then a sixth in Bahrain – although in the latter it was a close shave as his engine failed just as he was crossing the finish line.
Team-mate Daniil Kvyat retired in China with an ICE (internal combustion engine) problem but did manage ninth in Bahrain thanks to a last lap move that took him past the Williams-Mercedes of Felipe Massa.
Of the two Torro Rosso drivers, Carlos Sainz Jnr was 14th in China but retired in Bahrain as he reported a loose wheel following a pit stop. Max Verstappen, the youngest driver in GP history, starred with some dazzling overtaking moves in China only to retire near the end with an ICE issue. He also retired in Bahrain with an electrical problem.
Renaultsport F1’s Managing Director Cyril Abiteboul commented after Bahrain: “We came here aware of the risks from the previous race (China), and considering the starting positions, sixth and ninth is the best we could have hoped for with Red Bull today.
“Toro Rosso did not fulfil the potential, and a double retirement is a disappointment after the strong performances of the first few races (in Australia and Malaysia).
“Another engine problem is definitely not what we wanted to see, but I will take as a positive sign that it was at the very end and did not impact the final result of Daniel. Reliability has been our Achilles Heel since the last two races but, with 18 days to go before the first session in Spain, we have the time to introduce the more permanent fixes we have in the pipeline and start making the performance steps we are all keen to make.”
Director of Operations Remy Taffin is also hopeful fixes can be found as the calendar moves nearer to home in Europe with races in Spain and Monaco coming in May.
He said: “Two points scoring positions with Red Bull are the most we could have hoped for today (in Bahrain). We were conservative with the PU (power unit) settings as we knew we were at a potential risk of problems. We just got to the end of the race with Red Bull.
“With three weeks to the next race we will look in detail at the first four races – the positive, as well as the negative. We will also look at more permanent fixes to the problems experienced and take further steps forward on all fronts.”