Ricciardo’s retirement not down to ‘Spec C’ engine
Red Bull and Renault say Daniel Ricciardo’s retirement from the Italian Grand Prix was caused by a suspected problem with his car’s clutch, rather than an engine failure. Ricciardo had just passed Sergey Sirotkin’s Williams for 11th place, having worked his way up from a back-row start at Monza, when he was forced to pull off the circuit between the second chicane and the first Lesmo with smoke pouring out of his Red Bull. The Australian driver had Renault’s new Spec C engine fitted ahead of the weekend, which the French manufacturer said would be worth 0.3 seconds in lap time but carried a reliability risk. Although Ricciardo’s failure looked initially like an engine problem, Renault said subsequent inspections indicated this was not the case. “We can confirm that his retirement was not linked to the engine,”a Renault statement said.“it was rather a clutch issue.” Red Bull team boss Christian Horner added:“we are still not entirely sure on the cause but it is a suspected clutch issue.” Both Ricciardo and Max Verstappen ran the Spec C Renault engine, but only Ricciardo was hit with a grid penalty because he had previously used his maximum allocation of three internal-combustion engines. The Renault works team did not use the Spec C engine because of concerns about reliability, not in the short term, but taking into account the need to complete significant mileage to avoid penalties.