Double stoppage just Renault “playing it safe” – Ricciardo

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Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo says Renault’s double engine stoppage at Barcelona on Monday owed more to the French manufacturer playing it safe than proper failures that are cause for major concern.

Ricciardo’s RB13 stopped out on track in the morning with a sensor alarm on a crank shaft, and then early in the afternoon there was a problem with the battery energy charger.

The double problem reignited concerns of a repeat of pre-season engine woes for Renault with its all-new engine, but Ricciardo insisted that he had no concerns – especially after a good run late in the day.

He ended the day sixth fastest, 1.1s off Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes.

“I’m not worried,” said Ricciardo. “I think obviously it would have been nice to do more laps in particular, but the main issues were that it was for safety measures. So let’s say that we stopped running because of some sensor things, and they were giving us some warnings.

“I guess, especially from the engine side, we are playing it a bit safe and making sure that we don’t do damage on day one. That is the main thing. 

“But I think for now, the last two hours we got some good running and hopefully that continues for the rest of the test. Hopefully Max [Verstappen] tomorrow does 200 laps.”

Confident over potential

Although Renault has not yet wound up its engine’s performance fully, Ricciardo said that early indications were encouraging from his laps late on.

“This afternoon we were able to start to let it breathe a little bit more, and that was positive,” he said. “We racked up close to 50 laps in that last little block, so I think we took a bit away from the first run.

“It is a new car so you start to feel a few little differences. I think we cleaned them up already in the few runs we had, so it is just going to come with more running, and the last few hours gave us a lot of confidence going into tomorrow.

“We can definitely get the ball rolling from here.”

Horner cites bad luck

Renault’s problems at the start of the test, coming so soon after Toro Rosso was stopped with an ERS issue on a filming day, prompted questions over the new engine’s reliability.

But Red Bull boss Christian Horner said that he was far from worried about things – especially because both issues were relatively minor.

“I’d rather have the problems here than at the first race,” he said. “The good news is they don’t appear to be major problems.

“There are also encouraging factors that both other cars powered by the same power unit are running reasonably okay.

“One can only assume it’s just been unlucky Daniel has had two issues on his car today. Hopefully we can get out and do some proper running a bit later on.”

With the other Renault teams enjoying a good day of running, Horner also denied that double trouble for Red Bull could be related to how his team has packaged the engine.

“The problems we have had today are nothing to do with installation,” he said. “It’s nothing to do with how the car is packaged.”

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