Renault has confirmed Nico Hulkenberg suffered a suspected MGU-K failure for the second consecutive race as the French manufacturer’s reliability woes continue at the start of the 2019 Formula 1 season.

Both Hulkenberg and Daniel Ricciardo failed to finish last time out in Bahrain with MGU-K-related problems which triggered an extensive investigation from Renault ahead of the Chinese Grand Prix.

All Renault-powered F1 cars were required to take a new specification of MGU-K unit in a bid to solve its unreliability but just 16 laps into the Chinese race Hulkenberg reported a drop in engine power which forced his retirement.

“It’s clearly a very disappointing race for us today, it was a difficult start to the race, I lost a position and it was tough following cars ahead,” Hulkenberg said. “We pitted and came out in some traffic, but then I felt a loss of power.

“We tried our best to fix it out there as it looked like a software issue, but it wasn’t possible and we had to park up. We’re looking into the issue, but it looks like an MGU-K related problem.

“We have things to work on ahead of the next race, but we will look at everything in detail and come back stronger.”

Renault boss Cyril Abiteboul confirms continued investigations into the mechanical problem will take place as it hopes to cure its unreliability in time for the next race, the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, in two weeks time.

“Nico unfortunately retired with an MGU-K related problem that we will investigate further after this weekend,” Abiteboul said. “We will look at the weekend as a whole and our focus switches to the next race.”

 

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