Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has called on Renault to get their act together and help save his organisation’s season.
Horner was left fuming following the opening race in Australia on Sunday after Red Bull found themselves severely handicapped by power-unit supplier Renault over the course of the weekend.
Initially, the Milton Keynes-based marque were forced to change the power unit on Daniel Ricciardo’s car in between practice sessions on Friday due to a problem with the engine.
Come the race further embarrassment followed as Daniil Kvyat, on his debut for the team following his promotion last year from Toro Rosso, retired on the formation lap with a suspected gearbox failure.
Horner has already called on the FIA to introduce equalisation rules as he fears Mercedes will continue to dominate after their easy one-two around Melbourne’s Albert Park, spearheaded by Lewis Hamilton.
More pertinently, though, Horner knows Renault have to up their game otherwise the rest of the campaign will be a washout.
“Renault need to have a clear vision and they need it quickly,” said Horner.
“You can see Ferrari have made a good step forward, whereas Renault at this stage appear to have made a retrograde step.
“It’s frustrating we are effectively further back than we were in Abu Dhabi in both power and driveability.
“It means we haven’t seen the potential of our car yet because it’s masked by the engine issues we have.”
As to the steps required over the coming weeks, Horner added: “First we have to understand what the problem is in order to address it.
“Until Renault get to the bottom of what the issues are they are very difficult to address. A lot of dyno running needs to be done in order to understand.
“It’s important we regroup with Renault and offer support where we can because it’s obviously in a bit of a mess at the moment.
“But we need to understand things quickly. Across the four cars (Renault also supply Toro Rosso) we had two engine failures – one within five laps – and a whole bunch of reliability problems.
“It’s not the start Renault can afford to have.”
After an abysmal start to pre-season a year ago Red Bull recovered to claim three wins and finish second in the constructors’ championship, albeit a long way adrift of Mercedes.
Red Bull and Renault were expected to take a step closer this season, but instead Horner fears they will be cut adrift.
Asked whether Renault were capable of producing a championship- challenging engine, Horner replied: “This year, no.
“But we need to be doing a lot better than we are. We need to be challenging Ferrari and Williams.
“If we sort the issues out then we can do that, but the drivers need to have a fair run at it and they didn’t have that over the weekend.”