A furious Max Verstappen was forced to retire from the Hungarian Grand Prix after just six laps because of an MGU-K issue – marking another damning incident in Red Bull’s fraught relationship with PU supplier Renault.
The Dutch driver had recovered from his P7 grid slot to move into fifth – directly behind his rivals at Ferrari and Mercedes – before suddenly experiencing a loss of power coming out of Turn 3 on the sixth lap of the race.
Verstappen’s radio message directly after the incident included multiple profanities that expressed emotions of fury and anger toward the unreliability.
Immediately after the incident, Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner talked to Sky Sports F1, where he said it’s “no surprise really” that the Renault power unit suffered a mechanical issue.
He described the incident as “cruel luck.”
This incident marks the second time within the last fortnight where Red Bull has suffered an untimely power unit issue, following Daniel Ricciardo’s retirement last week in Germany.
TV pundit and former Formula 1 driver Martin Brundle said Red Bull has had “way too many” issues with their Renault power units this year.
“They just don’t seem to be fit for purpose,” Brundle commented seconds after Verstappen’s issue.
Horner said the current Renault power units were “somewhere below” the quality product that the team pays “multi-million” pounds for.
There were tensions earlier in the week between Red Bull and Renault following news that Daniel Ricciardo’s new German Grand Prix power unit had only three fresh elements of a possible six.
Renault’s Managing Director Cyril Abiteboul told Motorsport.com “there was absolutely no reason” to change all of the elements, whilst Horner said it was a “normal strategy” to change everything.
However, on Friday in Hungary, Horner insisted to Sky Sports F1 that it was “business as usual” with the French manufacturer.
Red Bull has used Renault engines since 2007 and won four World Championships with the French manufacturer.
Due to a deteriorating public relationship, Red Bull has badged their Renault power units under principal sponsor TAG-Heuer since 2016.
Red Bull and Renault will divorce at the end of 2018, with the Austrian-based team taking Honda power units for 2019 onwards.