Both Red Bulls retiring at end of race is “worst nightmare” for Horner

2022 Bahrain Grand Prix

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Red Bull team principal Christian Horner says seeing both his cars retire within the final three laps of the race was his “worst nightmare”.

Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez dropped out within the final three laps of the race with power unit problems. Given the timing and nature of the failures, Red Bull suspect both cars suffered the same fault.

“I can’t remember the last time that happened to us but it’s obviously your worst nightmare,” Horner admitted.

Verstappen was running second between the Ferraris and Perez fourth ahead of Lewis Hamilton when the problems struck.

“It’s hugely disappointing not only to lose a podium in Max, but then on the last lap lose a podium with Checo as well,” said Horner. “And he’d done the hard work into turn one, he held off Lewis.”

Horner confirmed the team had not encountered the problem in testing. “It’s something that we haven’t seen previously.

“But obviously we’ll strip the cars, will get into it, we’ll understand what the issue was.”

“It looks suspiciously like the failures are related to each other,” he added. “Looks like potentially an issue within the fuel system.”

The FIA gave teams extra time to inspect their fuel primer pumps ahead of the race. Horner said his team took advantage of that opportunity, “but I think that was a general concern rather than specific to Red Bull.

“So we just need to get the cars back, understand get the fuel system apart and understand it. We know that the fuel was in there.”

“The positive side for us was we had a very competitive car,” Horner added. “I don’t think we had quite the pace of Charles [Leclerc] today, but some great racing between Max and Charles.

“I think when you look from a season’s perspective, we need to get on top of the issue whatever it was today and come back strong next weekend.”

Asked whether he was concerned by the limited time to fix the problem before next week’s race in Jeddah, Horner said: “Actually I prefer it next weekend, I don’t have to wait two weeks with a hangover of this result.”

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Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...
Claire Cottingham
Claire has worked in motorsport for much of her career, covering a broad mix of championships including Formula One, Formula E, the BTCC, British...

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132 comments on “Both Red Bulls retiring at end of race is “worst nightmare” for Horner”

  1. That was my best dream.

    1. Please ferrari and charles, don’t screw up this time.

    2. +1 they deserve it.

    3. Imagine how aggressive Max’s overtakes will be as the season progresses if Ferrari has the quicker car and he needs to go into full-on attack mode to stand a chance.

      I expect there to be utter carnage!

      1. Noframingplease (@)
        21st March 2022, 19:15

        @sonnycrockett I see how the framing max as ‘aggressive’ driver by MB did their work on you.

      2. It was good racing between Max and Charles in Bahrain. If it continues on like that for the rest of the season then the obvious question will then be, why was it so volatile between Max and Lewis?

        1. Was there not clean racing between Hamilton & Verstappen at last year’s Bahrain GP?

          1. That’s true. It was after Silverstone that things got bad between them, from what I can remember.

    4. Noframingplease (@)
      21st March 2022, 19:23

      @Boudi I had mine last year. Did little Max hurt you so bad?

    5. So at least you do not have to clean your sheets… I hope :)

  2. There’s probably a very long German word for snoozing tranquilly and dreaming about someone else’s worst nightmare. I imagine Toto Wolff slumbering very soon with a contended smile on his face.

    1. Schadenfreudetraum might do it as a “mid-sized” German noun.

      1. @dmw That’s almost short! Sounds good though.

      2. @dmw Schadenfreuderuhigenschlaftraum

  3. well there is clearly pace in the car, so its ok, its part of motor racing. at least we have some great battles ahead to look forward to between Red Bull and Ferrari. The battle today between Charles and Max was exceptional, F1 at its finest, just wish they would get rid of DRS.

    1. Agree.
      I felt sad for both max and sergio after such a strong race. charles drove like a champion today, it is not easy to keep max at back when he is breathing at your neck. hamilton and george also did their best as well.

    2. Having pace in a car that can’t finish a race is not a great attribute… Let’s not forget there were two other cars with the same engine and one of those burst into flames!

      So only 25% of the redbull engined cars finished the race! I also seem to remember that Perez is already on his second gearbox too and that was before even starting the race!

      1. I’d rather have the Honda or Ferrari engine for the next 4 years than the Merc. At least RedBull can fix their issues.

        1. So can Merc, right?

          1. RandomMallard
            20th March 2022, 22:58

            @theswift Merc can fix their aero/chassis/balance issues fine. There’s no restrictions on that. However, the Merc PU this year doesn’t look all that great (just look at the other Merc powered teams, although of course that isn’t all of their problems), and the PUS have been frozen. Under the freeze, you can upgrade reliability, which I assume is where the OG is saying RB can fix their issues, but not performance, which may hurt Mercedes over the next few months/years (though I’m sure they and every other PU manufacturer will be able to gain some performance from “reliability” upgrades.

            It depends where the problems are in that Merc car I suppose.

          2. We actually do not know that the Merc PU is weak or not yet. It is certainly not looking like it is the clear leader anymore though. However are RB running their PU to hard in order to keep up with Ferrari? If they turn it down would they be behind the mercs? Three engines blowing up in one race is not a good sign is it? We also do not know yet if Ferrari are running on the edge of their PU reliability either. We will obviously find out as we go through the next few races.

    3. Would Verstappen have been able to challenge Leclerc without DRS?

      1. Nope. This No DRS thing is BS. There wouldn’t have been a great duel we saw tomorrow with Max and Charles if not for DRS. The Delta for overtaking would have been quite high.

      2. no but Leclerc wouldn’t be able to challange him without DRS

        1. Like max could charge lec without drs.

  4. What a collosal f up from RedBull again. This team is just not worthy

    1. Davethechicken
      20th March 2022, 19:09

      Not worthy of what?

        1. Very carefull with saying Karma otherwise Lewis won’t finish the rest of the season…. If we believe in Karma which i don’t.

          Seems a fuelpump issue maybe related to that fuel addon.

        2. Karma is overused and used in situations where it’s not applicable (like here). Like someone calling it Karma when you’re jaywalking only to find you’re pet hamster eaten by your cat…

          1. My karma ran over my dogma.

    2. Remember that day where both Mercedes retired within a few laps in Austria while leading?

      Yeah, surely they are not worthy either.

      What’s wrong with people these days here??

      1. @fer-no65 – Agree – People who take pleasure in others failure are pretty weak characters. Surely sport is about the competition and enjoying the combat and close racing. Seriously folks, enjoying a teams failure makes you something way less than a racing fan. “I can’t get to the top, so I hope others fail”, very weak.

      2. Within a few laps of each other? Can you please go back and check? Bottas was early race, prompting a VSC, making hamilton lose a few places, then towards the end it was hamilton.

        1. @esploratore1 within 40 laps of each other. Happier now? my comment still applies, a double failure in one race (specially the first of a new era) isn’t a nuclear meltdown… to say a team isn’t worthy is a childish comment.

  5. Was a sweet dream for me after his smugness post AD and in Drive to Survive

    1. We can look forward to him trotting around his estate with grey clouds overhead pondering it all followed by a lot of happy expletives from Gunther Steiner. Cannot wait!

  6. F1 is please let anyone win but Hamilton. So, it’s annoying that Red Bull retired, because otherwise Hamilton would have finished 5th. But it is still promising as this is the weakest Mercedes has started in a long time. So, prayers to the racing gods, let Hamilton lose. Please.

    1. Hamilton lost last year already!

      I am rooting for Leclerc for the championship, but I hope Hamilton can still get an 8th title before retiring.

  7. 2018 Azerbaijan GP is the most recent race a double non-finish, but they simply messed up.

    1. 2012 Italy was one where both cars had technical issues towards the end of the race. I think it was the alternators then?

    2. Maybe Austria 2020, not sure if Albon retired though?

      1. @burden93 Albon did end up retiring, but he was classified as he had completed more than 90% of the race distance. He kept going for a few laps after Hamilton’s botched defence.

    3. There was also bahrain 2018 which was a double retirement at start, but ricciardo was due to a technical problem, verstappen was due to puncture damage.

    4. Max messed up in that situation

  8. You can’t bribe reliability, that’s called motor racing.

  9. I’m surprised there were no reaction shots in the pits. Normally the cameras would catch the team’s reaction. Have they decided to stop doing that?

    1. Perhaps they are saving the juicy bits for Netflix.

  10. Plus, Gasly.
    So that’s 3 out of 4 of the Red Bull family of cars out with major reliability problems. Ouch.

    1. RandomMallard
      20th March 2022, 19:34

      I don’t think it’s necessarily the “RB family of cars” as such that’s most concerning, but more the fact that all 3 are Red Bull Powertrains/definitely-not-rebadged-Honda powered teams.

      1. @randonmallard They definitely-are-rebadged-Honda engines for 2022.

        1. they all will be honda engines until 2025. honda decided to stick around after all the cuffufle redbul created for themselves due to historical events…never ending curse of engine suppliers, never ending cursing from max.. engines have feelings too you know?

          1. Max was always very nice to Honda so i don’t think Honda is the issue here.

  11. I wonder if Redbull will feel someone needs to compensate them for this bad luck because even Todt kept mentioning their bad luck last season.

  12. Wonder if Gasly had a fuel issue in the Alpha Tauri too. Maybe related with the Red Bull issues.

    1. If you hear Max had powersteering problems you could think Hydrolitics leak (which is also flamable) Or Fuelpump leak.

      We don’t know what the issues were.

      1. @bullmello I hear just a interesting info the steering problem was a slightly bent steering rod which was dented during a pitstop.

        1. I think that observation about the steering rod came from Craig Scarborough, so it’s probably good information.

  13. Max was moaning the whole race, way before any engine issues. Charles is as quick as him and it is time for Charles to get some glory. And Carlos too.

    1. There is a difference if you “moan” about technical problems that ultimately ruin your race, or the moaning by Lewis under pressure before he puts in the fastest lap.

      1. “I’m gonna head but someone”
        Said Hamilton, never.

      2. U mean like moaning about your team messing up the pitstop strat is ok?

      3. You mean like Max moaning and blaming the team for holding him back to preserve his tyres whilst putting in a faster lap than Leclerc in front of him? And then the stats showing that the team was right all along?

      4. wow, something happened to this guy this year

      5. Lol, your brilliant ability to bring in any point to defame Mercedes or Hamilton, even if the comment does not mention them at all.

      6. I thought Lewis was the moaner? Nah, not even close. Karma baby.

        1. Lewis and many like him moan, but the difference is cursing at your own team constantly undermining their intelligence like you are above them all… thats a little different to moaning…

          max is almost like toned down mazepin…
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Pk2FAU_oaQ

          dont know how long people will tolerate him…

          1. Yeah, just like when Lewis decides to pit earlier or later and then blames the team

      7. erikje, except we did have the situation where Max was complaining about the car after his final pit stop, only to then put in a lap that was the fastest lap at the time and the third fastest lap of the entire race.

        1. I just hear that during a pitstop one of the steering rod was bent slightly and caused the heavy steering problem which doesn’t prevent fast times.

        2. Yes with defected material, hence the moaning.
          Not like Lewis, just cracking up under stress.

          1. Lol. The only thing cracking up was some fuel pump in the RBs.

      8. All of Max’s moans yesterday were not signs of him under pressure? You couldn’t tell by his voice that he was distressed? You couldn’t or wouldn’t discern by his choice of words that he was angry? He asked them “what do you want me to do?” The team was short of answering “drive Max, that’s your job”. In fact, he gave up and headed straight to the pitlane before the team instructed him to box. You are attempting to label Max’s moans are different therefore justified? Your responses have always been pretty simplistic laced with nastiness, and this one is no different. And what has it got to do with Lewis? BTW, don’t forget to continue enjoying the trophy and that No. 1 on the car.

    2. I only managed to see the highlights, maybe it was the editing, but Max seemed to really be cursing, and moaning a LOT. Some good stuff from Charles outthinking/outracing MV too.

      1. It’s a bit the same with them showing Hamilton ‘moaning’ (or Grosjean) over the past few years @biker56, a lot of it is what and how they choose to broadcast I expect.

      2. @biker56 It’s not that difficult to outthink Verstappen.

  14. I do like that photograph. Obviously the Ferrari’s aren’t at racing speed and it’s safe, but you don’t often see a driver on the track like that.

    1. All I can see is that Perez isn’t wearing gold race shoes.

    2. RandomMallard
      20th March 2022, 23:01

      I think this was a golden opportunity missed for a surprise caption competition Keith

  15. Looks like both RBR cars suffered a fuelpump faillure, which isn’t fabricated neither by RBR nor Honda, but is a listed part.

    1. If that’s true, that would suggest it’s the same in every other car. Now, there’s obviously a possibility that they just got unlucky and it was pure chance that it failed on both of their cars and no others, but it’s also very possibly that it failed because of the way RBR are using the part… Just because it is the failure of a standard part does not mean they have no part to play in the issue.

  16. Karma! 😂

    1. karma means dog food in polish

  17. Karma comes knocking. I hope both engines are gone.

    I’d be happy with 2 RB DNFs each race.

    1. Really? Imagine if Max retired early on in the race. I dare say the fight for the lead would have been somewhat dampened…

    2. @theswift
      So you would be happy to see no battles for the lead and a return to 1 car dominance?
      Let me guess… you are a Mercedes fan?

      1. I’d take anyone but RB, Ferrari look great.

  18. Lots of bitter comments in there unfortunately.

    Nonetheless, if it is a fuel pump issue it should be ok? Or is the pump listed in the restricted parts?

    Also, there is no news about Gasly’s engine. I wonder if it is connected, and whether he’ll need a new one? Surely a nightmare for Red Bull powertrains.

    1. Seems like there was a lot of overheating going on today — brakes and one car too hot to pit — maybe this was the bottom end of the new “green” fuel getting too hot and causing vapour locks? Maybe the extremely tight bodywork packaging is partly to blame? Difficult to tell here in Canada with Bell/TSN advertising interspersed with snippets from SkySports… But it still looks as though this year’s tech regs are capable of delivering some good racing.

    2. If it’s the fuel pump times 3 then the rest of the field can get this problem too as that part comes from 1 source.

      1. @macleod depends how RBR have installed and are using that part, and what else is in the fuel chain that may have an effect.

  19. Lets all laugh at Horner. Well done Ferrari.

  20. It did look like fuel related but what about Gasly and Max’s steering?

    1. bent steering rod cause during pitstop.

  21. DNFs aside, Charles slapped Verstappen silly during the race today. Showed a lot of race craft and steady nerves holding off multiple seemingly desperate attempts at overtaking from Max. It’s amazing to me how little maturity Max has after seven years F1 locking up in a Kamikaze attempt is just remarkable to see. He’s very talented but is entirely one dimensional in his race craft.

    1. +1, Charles did a stellar job.

  22. Ben (@scuderia29)
    21st March 2022, 6:50

    The fan base on this website has gone so downhill, reading the comments is an utter waste of time. The Hamilton brigade of “karma!!!” is so tiresome. If after alllllll this time you’re still not over Abu Dhabi and you think somehow redbull had anything to do with how masi directed the final race then just go watch wrestling or something else, F1 isn’t a soap opera.

    1. @scuderia29 Red Bull’s struggles are a convenient point for the Merc troll factory to focus on. The uncomfortable (for them) truth is that they were a second a lap slower than both Red Bull and Ferrari, in a car that was the talk of the paddock in pre-season and ought, if executed properly, to be comfortably fastest. Lots of work for the other Merc employees to do, I think.

      1. @red-andy whilst you seem to be lashing out at Mercedes fans, there are a lot of people here who are definitely not Mercedes fans who also seem to be taking pleasure in Red Bull’s misfortunes in this race. It seems to be more that the rest of the fan base views Red Bull and its fans in much the same light that Milwall FC has been viewed for a long time, and for many of the same reasons.

        1. Charlie Payne
          21st March 2022, 11:20

          No-one likes us,
          No-one likes us,
          No-one likes us,
          We don’t care
          We are redbull
          Super redbull
          We are redbull from Milton Keynes.

          As a childhood Millwall fan, I find that comparison quite offensive, at least we don’t pretend to be nice

          1. Love this comment! Redbull in their entirety, have taken the mantel of pantomime villain from Alonso in my view. The team everyone loves to hate!

          2. As a Palace fan, I agree, Millwall fans have never pretended to be nice. hahaha

    2. Hamilton “fans” have always been insufferable, going back to 2007. They conveniently forget the strops their favourite has when things aren’t going all his way, such as tweeting Button’s telemetry information at Spa 2012 because he couldn’t accept that Button was fast enough for pole, when he couldn’t get closer than 8th.

      1. You’re talking about a Hamilton that was 10+ years younger. Haven’t you ever heard of growing up and maturing? No I’m not a Hamilton fan!

    3. Its getting out of control. Merc domination masked some of this behavior but with competition from Redbull, its gone quite bad indeed. I have never seen so much hate for a team which is top performer like Red Bull just because they dont like the Team principle because of what he says?

      I see a lot of political undercurrents here.

      1. There is generally just as much flowing the other way, looking outside this site, but this site does have more Hamilton fans than Verstappen fans. That said, I’m not excusing it. There was a particularly nasty undercurrent to the rivalry last year which has only increased over the break (again, from both sides), and is much more intense than those I have seen before. Particularly on this site, which was generally much less polarised than others. It’s disheartening to see.

        1. @drmouse I agree. Sites like these were a respite even though we do see some polarization from time to time but things didnt look crazy like this comments section. Twitter is a mess. I guess F1 technical forum is the last of the pure sanctum.

        2. You can change that!
          Start with it now and do not use whatatboutism.

    4. F1 proved to be a soap opera in Abu Dhabi. Whether sacking of Masi helps is yet to be seen.

    5. Today we have the usual regular whinges about Ham re 2008, 2012, 2016. So why don’t you ‘get over that’ and then come back here in about ten years with your ‘Hamilton Brigade’ nonsense?

  23. That was a lot of points to lose in a very short space of time! The positive for them at least is that they should be in contention for race wins more often than not, as long as they see the chequered flag! Very much on the back foot but by no means a complete disaster given the length of the season.

  24. I wonder if Redbull risked running their engines at a higher performance level and it bit them in the end. Lets see if they still have that immense straight line speed at the next few races

    1. Andy (@andyfromsandy)
      21st March 2022, 13:12

      I believe there is a pump or fuel lifter in the fuel tank that has to keep the fuel flowing when the level gets very low. With the petrol sloshing around air probably got in the system and that would result in a super lean mixture which is catastrophic for engines. It appears this may not have worked for ORBR which could be due to tank design. IDK.

  25. Well, Christian Horner should point the finger to the People responsibel for the PU…
    Not the best debut for their rebadged engine.

    1. responsible

      1. All indications are it wad the fuel pump. One of the prescripted parts by fia. No choice there.

        1. Christian will surely point everybody in that direction…

          1. Because, everyone in the race had fuel pump issues… Great logic… I think they will let redbull have their own fuel pump and fuel flow sensors like in the past :)

          2. In fact it was fia who issued a statement about those pumps. But hey, you have to read stuff then and that’s not the forte of hamfans :)

    2. Andy (@andyfromsandy)
      21st March 2022, 13:14

      Not sure why folk keep going on about the engine as if it is ORBRs. The engines are being made and assembled in Japan I think you find by Honda for the foreseeable future.

      1. @andyfromsandy until the end of 2025. The new F1 powertrain is due to be introduced in 2026.

      2. I think the strategic choices are led by RedBull, Honda is only a technical partner.
        Honda hands, RedBull brain. 2 failures look more of a ‘brain’ issue than a ‘hand issue’. This is my opinion.
        I would be in favour of a swap between Christian Horner and Franz Tost.

        1. Clarification: The last line contains some sort of irony.

  26. “It looks suspiciously like the failures are related to each other,” he added. “Looks like potentially an issue within the fuel system.”

    It looked to me like the battery for the engine failed, so then the engine was running purely on the power of the alternator. This isn’t a problem until the engine stops or the current drawn exceeds the capacity of the alternator to supply electricity. If neither of those situations occurred then the car could have completed the race. However once the engine stops then it won’t restart because the battery is dead. Or if at some point the amount of current drawn was more than what the alternator was producing, then the current drawn steals from the current needed to run the alternator, causing the alternator to loose power, and so now the alternator is just a windmill, and the engine dies. I’m not sure how it is the onboard camera and RT kept working, maybe they have their own battery, but that’s what it looks like to me.

  27. Andy (@andyfromsandy)
    21st March 2022, 15:55

    When an engine stops firing it will still keep turning over with the weight of the vehicle over coming the compression. Perez’s engine stopped dead like it seized. That is not a general failure with a dead battery or faulty alternator. IMHO.

    1. In that situation, you are relying on the car “forcing” the engine to turn, effectively turning the engine into one giant brake. If the car is already near the limits of adhesion, as is likely mid-corner, and the driver had been balancing the throttle, that could easily be enough to lock the back wheels and cause the spin.

  28. Maybe Honda put all their eggs in last year basket and now they are paying the price.

  29. Nothing from Horner on the “racing gods” now. 😂

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