Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said the team’s relationship with Formula 1 engine supplier Renault continues to be a “rollercoaster”. 

The Milton Keynes based-squad was plagued by a series of engine-based reliability issues throughout 2017 and has continued to be hampered by problems this season. 

Red Bull has been powered by Renault since 2008 and won all of its drivers’ and constructors’ championships between 2010 and 2013 with the French manufacturer, though the team is keeping its options open with its existing Renault deal coming to an end after this season. 

McLaren splitting from Honda in favour of a switch to Renault has opened the door for Red Bull to follow junior team Toro Rosso in taking on power units from the Japanese engine manufacturer in 2019 - though it has until the FIA’s notice deadline of May 15 to make a decision. 

“We’ve been on that rollercoaster for about five years,” Horner said. “Sometimes there’s a complete loop the loop in it. So the rollercoaster continues.

“He [Ricciardo] had the energy store failure in Bahrain, he had a turbo failure here, losing him important track time. You get to a point where you think what’s next?”

Daniel Ricciardo took advantage of Red Bull’s strategy gamble to claim an opportunistic victory in last weekend’s Chinese Grand Prix, though the Australian at one stage faced the prospect of starting the race from the back of the Shanghai grid following a turbo failure in FP3. 

The issue followed a complete electrical shutdown on Ricciardo’s car in Bahrain, which forced him into retirement on the second lap while running in fourth. That prompted Red Bull to change the control electronics and energy store elements on his Renault power unit before China.

And Ricciardo - who is considering his future options with his current Red Bull deal set to expire at the end of 2018 - edged even closer to a grid penalty after his spectacular engine failure in final practice in China, as he took on a new engine, turbo, MGU-H and MGU-K ahead of qualifying. 

“It hasn’t been the cleanest start,” he admitted. “Especially after testing, where we had a pretty good winter and thought we were really on top of things. But obviously with Bahrain and then [FP3 in China], it’s a little bit of a shake-up. 

“We’ve just got to try and keep reiterating the importance of reliability and try and overcome all these penalties that we’ll eventually have at some point now.”


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