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MOTOR RACING

Red Bull say Renault performance unacceptable after Austrian GP

Team principal Christian Horner dissatisfied with once-dominant car and demands improvement as they slip further in title race

PUBLISHED : Monday, 23 June, 2014, 10:07pm
UPDATED : Monday, 23 June, 2014, 10:07pm
 

Formula One champions Red Bull called for change at engine partners Renault after an "unacceptable" performance in the Austrian Grand Prix.

Quadruple world champion Sebastian Vettel retired from the race at Spielberg with an electronics problem, his third failure to finish this season due to an issue with the new V6 turbo hybrid power unit.

The reliability is unacceptable. The performance is unacceptable. There needs to be change at Renault
Christian Horner

"The reliability is unacceptable. The performance is unacceptable. There needs to be change at Renault," team principal Christian Horner said. "It can't continue like this. It's not good for Renault and it's not good for Red Bull."

The champions, winner of both titles for the past four years with Renault power, are now 158 points behind leaders Mercedes after eight races.

Australian Daniel Ricciardo won the previous Canadian Grand Prix, but was a distant eighth on Sunday.

Renault Sport F1's deputy managing director Rob White said the French manufacturer, who started the year well behind Mercedes on performance, knew what had to be done and progress was being made.

"The anxiety that Christian feels, and the frustration he feels after a result that is not at the full potential of the performance of car and power unit, is completely understandable and shared by us," he told the Autosport website. "We know what is expected of us and individually and collectively we must buckle down in the right direction."

Horner made clear Red Bull would stay with Renault next season, when Honda are due to make their return as partners to McLaren, but he wanted to see a big improvement.

The only other engine manufacturers are Mercedes and Ferrari.

"We need to work together as partners.

"There will not be another engine in the back of the car next year, but we want to be competitive and we want to run at the front," said Horner.

"Something needs to happen because whatever's being done there at the moment isn't working. It's not our business, it's not our responsibility.

"We're the end user and it's just frustrating that it's not where it needs to be at the moment," added the Briton.

Sunday's race, meanwhile, has put Williams squarely back among the big boys, with teams like Ferrari and Red Bull now their target after years languishing in the bottom half of the constructors' standings.

The English team dominated qualifying ahead of the race, with Brazilian Felipe Massa taking his first pole since 2008, and teammate Valtteri Bottas contributing to a front-row lockout on Sunday.

In the end, they could not keep up with the Mercedes leaders of Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton, but everybody else was in their sights, Massa vowed.

"The result shows that we can compete with the other teams, we can compete with big teams, like Ferrari, like Red Bull," he said after his fourth-place finish.

"[Against] Mercedes I think will be difficult, we don't even have 100 points, they have 300 so we're not fighting with Mercedes.

"But it shows that we are at a good level."

With Bottas third - landing his first career podium - Williams jumped into fifth place in the constructors' standings with 85 points, ahead of McLaren.

Halfway through the season, the team have more points than in any of the last four years.

"Red Bull are still a bit in front, but Ferrari are 13 points in front of us," said Massa.

Reuters, Agence France-Presse

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