No Renault upgrades expected for Red Bull until Russian Grand Prix

Red Bull Racing boss Christian Horner does not expect any power unit upgrades from Renault until Formula One goes to Sochi for the Russian Grand Prix.

The lack of upgrades hurts both Red Bull Racing and Toro Rosso as the pair will have to race at Spa, Monza, Singapore and Suzuka before any performance improvements.

As it stands, Renault has 12 development tokens remaining to use with expectations they will improve the V6 and turbo. The upgrades would only come into play for the final five races on the calendar.

Although Red Bull performed well Friday in FP2, finishing second and third behind Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes, the session ended with driver Daniel Ricciardo losing yet another engine.

“I don’t think there is anything scheduled now before Sochi,” said Horner. “That probably is the earliest that we are going to see any form of development or use of the tokens, so the engines we’ve got at the moment are what we’re having to live with for the time being.

“So engines four and five of what the drivers have been using between Friday and Sunday racing, unfortunately Ricciardo has now lost engine four, so he’s only got engine five, that came into service for the first time in Austria, to get him through the next few races, so only time will tell as to whether we can get to Sochi or not without incurring another penalty before introducing an upgraded unit.”

Horner did make mention that Renault “are making progress,” and that they “have got strategically some decisions to make over the coming weeks in terms of the direction they want to go along – not just for 2016 but for beyond that.”

Regardless of the difficulties that have faced the once elite Formula One team, Horner made no mention of looking elsewhere before the contract with Renault expires after the 2016 season.

“We have an agreement with Renault to the end of next year and of course as a partner, we’re expecting them to enable us to run in a competitive manner and in order to do that, we need a competitive engine. Of course, Renault needs that more than anybody as well for both of their customer teams.”

Image: Red Bull Content Pool

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Joey Barnes is the Founder of Motorsports Tribune. He has covered auto racing since 2013 that has spanned from Formula 1 to NASCAR, with coverage on IndyCar. Additionally, his work has appeared on Racer, and Autoweek magazine. In 2017, he was recognized with an award in Spot News Writing by the National Motorsports Press Association.

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