Red Bull team principal Christian Horner says it is “ironic” that Daniel Ricciardo keeps suffering Renault-related issues following his retirement from the United States Grand Prix.
Ricciardo was running in fourth place when his car lost power exiting the Turn 11 hairpin early in the race, forcing him into his seventh retirement of the season. With the Australian set to leave Red Bull at the end of the season to join Renault, Horner says the number of reliability issues that have been related to the power unit will be of particular frustration for Ricciardo.
“It was exactly the same failure as in Bahrain earlier in the year, where it looks like a major issue in the energy store and it just takes out all of the power,” Horner said. “We’ve got another energy store within the allocation without having to take a penalty. The Renault guys in the garage have obviously apologized, which we appreciate it, but the frustration is for Daniel.
“You can’t blame him, the frustration that is in him. What’s ironic is it’s always on his car. It was the other way around last year with Max (Verstappen) but as Renault’s premier driver I think you wouldn’t expect these issues to be happening.
“From a team point of view, all we want to do is finish the year on a high with him and have a chance to celebrate the time that he has been with us. It’s just unfortunate that these things keep happening.
There must be frustrations obviously within him. With the issues that are happening he knows it’s not the team issue — he knows it’s nothing that we’ve done and he can’t get his head around why it keeps happening to him. It was a throttle linkage in Japan, a battery here; it’s hugely frustrating for him.”
While he has two victories to his name this season, Ricciardo has yet to finish on the podium outside of those results and Horner believes he would have ended that drought on Sunday given the pace shown by Verstappen in recovering from 18th to finish second.
“I think they both would have been on the podium, for sure. We had a car strong enough to do that. I think with both cars in the race we’d have seen both cowboy suits on the podium.”