Daniel Ricciardo 'surprised' Renault still suffering reliability problems
Ricciardo didn't anticipate more problems in 2015 than year one of hybrid era; Australian admits he isn't thinking about Renault upgrade as doubts on timeframe grow
By James Galloway
Last Updated: 08/09/15 4:02pm
Daniel Ricciardo has expressed surprise that struggling Renault are still suffering so many problems more than 18 months into F1's new hybrid era.
Against the backdrop of Red Bull reputedly severing their French engine suppliers with an early termination notice for 2016, the once all-conquering combination endured another trying weekend at the Italian GP with both Ricciardo and Daniil Kvyat starting on the back two rows after a plethora of power unit penalties.
While some of these were triggered by tactical changes ahead of theoretically stronger races for the RB11 on the calendar, Red Bull still lost one brand-new engine from their pool when Ricciardo's car broke in final practice.
The Australian, who recovered to finish eighth in the race from the back row, joked that the team are "creating the tombstone" for what was his seventh engine of 2015 - three more than the limit.
Ricciardo admitted the extent of the struggles for Renault and Honda - currently in even worse shape on their return to the sport with McLaren, with nine engines used - is unexpected.
"I expected these problems last year. In the first year of the new era I was expecting a lot more of these things," he said.
"To have it all happen this year with us and Honda, it's a bit of a surprise."
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Despite starting the season with more engine development 'tokens' left unspent than any of their three rivals - 12 - Renault have yet to deploy any of them, despite a little over two months of the campaign now remaining.
A big upgrade had been mooted for October's Russian GP; however, it emerged at Monza that the new-specification engines may now not be ready until the following race in Austin.
Ricciardo admitted it has now reached the stage where he isn't looking ahead to when an overhaul might arrive.
"Short-term we've got Singapore to look forward to in having a good result. Then let's see," he admitted.
"I haven't heard too many updates about what's happening in the future in terms of what specs we're going to get. I won't be too optimistic. When we get it in the car I'll start to ask more questions but until we get it I'll just keep quiet and keep driving."
Put to him that it might be like a birthday present that gets lost in the post, Ricciardo replied: "If we don't get any upgrade it might feel a bit like that! But even last year there was a lot of hope - 'yeah, we'll get a bit more horsepower at this race and this race'.
"Sure we got a bit more but it was never maybe as much as we were told. So until we see it and I drive the car and feel more horsepower I won't get too excited."
With both Red Bull drivers already well beyond their four-engine allocation, Red Bull team boss Christian Horner has admitted there's no guarantee the team will even introduce Renault's new-spec unit if and when it arrives.
"It hasn't been confirmed to us when it will be and how much performance it will be either," he said. "When we understand what the performance gain is we then have to weigh up is it worth taking a penalty for. We'll wait to hear from Renault on that."
Don't miss the F1 Midweek Report on Wednesday night at 8.30pm when Mark Webber and Jolyon Palmer will join Natalie Pinkham to discuss the Italian GP and F1's big issues.