Nico Hulkenberg says the Renault-powered drivers will use a redesigned motor generator unit-kinetic (MGU-K) to cure its ongoing unreliability as the works team looks to bounce back from a painful double DNF caused by engine breakdowns at the Bahrain Grand Prix.

Both Hulkenberg and teammate Daniel Ricciardo dropped out of the Bahrain race simultaneously with three laps to go in separate incidents, triggering Renault into a detailed analysis into the failures as team boss Cyril Abiteboul slammed the “unacceptable” engine problems.

Having suffered with MGU-K unreliability throughout pre-season testing, while Carlos Sainz Jr was forced to retire from the Australian Grand Prix with a fault on the same part, Renault has made design tweaks to its MGU-K in a bid to cure its mechanical faults after both Hulkenberg’s and Ricciardo’s Bahrain DNFs were linked to the same element of the power unit.

“They looked into it and they are working on it, working on reliability and getting on top of the situation,” Hulkenberg confirmed ahead of the Chinese Grand Prix. “It is a pity as we lost a great result there. You’ve got to let it go and move on.

“For me it was a failure on the PU side, the problem there [in Bahrain], that is why I am on to my second engine. Obviously earlier this year there has been several problems on the MGU-K side.

“Here all Renault engines are on the redesigned MGU-K so we are very confident it has taken care of the issues we’ve seen. There is further ongoing work to improve things.”

The FIA will confirm which of the Renault-powered drivers have picked a new MGU-K unit when they take to the track at the start of Friday practice because under F1 rules any new power unit elements are only officially selected once used in a practice, qualifying or race.

Each F1 driver is permitted a maximum of three internal combustion engines (ICE), motor generator unit-hybrid units (MGU-H) and turbochargers (TC) and only two energy stores (ES), control electronics (CE) and MGU-K units per season.

Sainz is already on his second MGU-K, MGU-H, TC and ICE following his fiery retirement in Australia so could be hit with a grid penalty for the Chinese Grand Prix if he takes on a third MGU-K this weekend. Every other drivers remains one used unit per element going into the third round of the 2019 F1 season.



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