The Renault Formula 1 team is seeking an urgent solution to a radiator issue after the Enstone outfit was hit by two identical failures on successive weekends.
Daniel Ricciardo was forced to retire from the Austrian GP after a weld failure led to a leak and triggered overheating. After the race the remaining examples were returned to the UK factory, X-rayed and checked over, and then sent back to the Red Bull Ring.
However in Sunday’s Styrian GP, Esteban Ocon had an identical failure and was called into the pits to retire, costing the team valuable points for a second time.
The problem for Renault is that the schedule of back-to-back races does not give the team enough time to source replacements, so it has to work with what it has.
“It’s extremely, extremely frustrating and extremely disappointing,” Renault executive director Marcin Budkowski told Motorsport.com.
“It’s a part that we get from a supplier. To get into detail, it’s a weld on the on the radiator. We’ve inspected all the welds, we haven’t found any issue. And we had the same the same exact problem.
“And we used the same radiators in Barcelona pre-season testing, and we had no issues whatsoever. So whether it’s the kind of thermal duty cycle of the circuit, whether it’s the famous kerbs of Spielberg, there’s something we didn’t understand, or we didn’t manage to spot.
“So we’re going to take stronger containment measures for the next race, but we’re extremely disappointed that that we had the same problem twice and we lost two point scoring opportunities with each driver.
“So we are going to look at it very, very hard again, so all the radiators are on the way again, back to Enstone to be checked.”
Budkowski confirmed that the same batch would have to be modified for Hungary.
“We can’t do new ones, so we’re going to have to do what we call containment on the existing ones. We’re going to have to add some material and try to reinforce the weld and try to make it less prone to breaking or to leaking.
“So it’s not going to be pretty, but hopefully it will be good enough for one race, and we will look at something more robust and in the future.”
The positive for Renault is that Ocon and Ricciardo have both managed a race distance and scored points, having earned an eighth place apiece.
“I didn’t have any cooling issues or warnings today,” said the Australian after the Styrian race. “So it seems like it’s the reverse of last week, Esteban had no issues, I did.
“And today he had the issues, and I didn’t, so I didn’t have to take care of anything on cooling today. So mine was fine.
“But it seems like a very similar issue that he’s had today. So that’s, that’s obviously something that needs further investigation.”
Ocon added: “I’m obviously disappointed for sure with what happened. We were running on a good position, we were having a great opportunity. I think the strategy was also quite nice. So it’s a shame.
“Unfortunately, it’s it’s motorsports sometimes. We suspected it was a cooling issue. So we retired to save the engine, in case that was that the thing.”
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