Engine supplier Renault currently has a spare parts crisis on its hands following a spate of power unit failures for not only its own Formula 1 team, but its customers too.
They are now so low on components, that any further reliability issues for the Renault Sport Formula 1 Team, Red Bull Racing or Scuderia Toro Rosso would cause serious problems in terms of issuing any replacements, with the parts being extremely difficult to produce in a short timeframe.
The situation has become so bad that Red Bull’s engines were turned down at the 2017 Brazilian Grand Prix as a safety precaution, to ensure the power units were able to make it the end of the race without going pop.
Red Bull Team Principal, Christian Horner, says the situation is far from ideal, but told Motor und Sport that he was relieved both drivers saw the chequered flag in Brazil, without any failures.
“We are glad the engines survived.”
Should problems arise at the season finale in Abu Dhabi however, Horner says they will cross that bridge when they come to it, but would prefer to have an incident free weekend, because it would not be a cheap exercise to rectify.
“We don’t want that to happen. It would be an expensive job to sort that out.”
He also went on to praise the efforts of the Renault mechanics who he says have worked their socks off to find alternative solutions, and keep things running as smoothly as possible.
“What the Renault mechanics have done is a small miracle.
“For weeks they have been making old parts workable and screwing them on from one car to another.”
Toro Rosso in particular have been hit hard at the last few rounds, with engine blowouts for both drivers at the 2017 Mexico Grand Prix and further failures in Brazil.
The poor engine performance has caused conflict between the two parties, with Renault Sport Managing Director Cyril Abiteboul blaming the Faenza based squad for the way they use the engines, and Toro Rosso Team Principal Franz Tost insinuating that Renault were purposefully giving them faulty goods, as they were so close to them in the constructor’s standings.
Red Bull Motorsport Advisor Helmut Marko moved to calm the situation, but reiterated that as customers of Renault, both teams were understandably unhappy with the service the French manufacturer is currently providing.
“Of course it’s not satisfactory.
“They did not solve the problems and parts are running out. Unfortunately, Toro Rosso was affected more than the other teams and that’s why emotions were high.
“But we discussed it, made a statement and everything is ok.”