Mechanical failure threatens Ricciardo qualifying

Ricciardo's Red Bull suffers apparent engine failure during FP3

Chinese Grand Prix – Red Bull have a race against time on their hands ahead of qualifying, due to Daniel Ricciardo’s engine suffering an apparent failure during final practice.

Ricciardo was a late joiner to the action during FP3, sitting out the first twenty minutes due to gearbox checks taking place on his RB14 as the session began. Once he did, he worked his way up to P7 before disaster struck. Driving down the long back straight, there was a loud bang from the back of his car and he slowed as flame and smoke began bellowing from the engine compartment. Leaving the hairpin, he was able to get the car stopped on the grass just before the pitlane and withdrew from the session.

This puts serious pressure on the team to get him back out in time for the first part of qualifying in just on two hours time. The issue appears to have been an engine failure, and a full power unit change is believed to take two to three hours – meaning that taking part in Q1 is far from assured.

Max Verstappen was told to come into the pits shortly after, although it’s not clear whether this was for precautionary checks on his power unit. Red Bull suffered a double retirement last time out in Bahrain, with Ricciardo being sidelined due to technical problems, while Verstappen suffered damage from a puncture.

Speaking to Sky, team boss Christian Horner said initial thoughts were that the turbo had failed. Asked whether the team carried out specific training for quick engine changes, he replied “The amount of times we’ve changed these engines, we’re well used to it.”

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Thomas Maher

Co-owner, Chief Editor and a journalist for - Ireland's only accredited F1 & Formula E website.

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