Verstappen troubled by Red Bull chances, with lack of Renault updates

Max Verstappen - Red Bull Racing - sits out the Canadian GP 2017. Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd

Red Bull Racing driver Max Verstappen has voiced his concerns over the performance of the Renault engine, which the Dutchman feels will continue to hold the Milton Keynes squad back, even into next season.

Red Bull have started the 2017 season some way off the pace of the Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team and Scuderia Ferrari, who are currently fighting it out at the front, despite positive vibes from the French manufacturer over winter, leading them to believe that they would be able to challenge for the championship this year.

Although the Milton Keynes based squad held their hands up on the performance front initially, they feel that the updates they have made to their chassis so far this season have worked well, and it is now just a lack of power that is holding them back.

Verstappen is worried that if the below par performance of the power unit continues, and it is set to with Renault confirming that no significant updates would now be released this year, then that is going to curtail their progress and their title-winning aspirations now and through to 2018, as he explained to Dutch TV show ‘Peptalk’ recently.

“The team is able to win, absolutely.

“You can see that the car has improved a lot, but now the power has to arrive as well.

“But this year nothing is coming, as you’ve probably read. So I’m concerned about that.

“They did promise this, but in the end little has arrived in terms of updates this year.

“That’s very disappointing. And I’m concerned about next year.

“This year we wanted to go for the title, as a team, but we are far away from that.”

Verstappen’s season has been far from smooth so far in 2017, with numerous disrupted practice sessions across grand prix weekends, as well as unwanted retirements form a number of races, due to unreliability and technical issues, all stemming from the Renault power unit.

Speaking to Dutch media, Verstappen commented that he would expect this sort of bad luck to occur now and then, but the Canadian Grand Prix is now the third race this season that the Red Bull driver has not seen the finish line, and the 19-year-old has warned that the situation needs to be rectified quickly.

After five, six laps you could see clearly that Lewis was faster.

“I just wanted to focus on my own race, as I was pulling away from those behind me as well.

“After 10 laps you get into some sort of ‘robot mode’ and you just do your thing.

“But two laps down the road everything stopped working.

“These things happen, but of course, you don’t want it to happen now anymore, so they need to work on this.

“Everything is supposed to work. You have to be able to make it to the finish.”

A significant engine upgrade had initially been set to take place ahead of the Canadian Grand Prix, but that was postponed, and Red Bull were then under the impression that it would be rolled out at the next round in Azerbaijan instead. However, Renault have confirmed that there will be no major upgrade this year, and they will instead be administering a programme of constant improvements, which will make an overall difference, and should lead to the engine becoming more reliable race on race.

Verstappen does not feel these small advancements will be enough however, which has triggered his concern about the possibilities for 2018.