Skip to main content

F1: Engine trouble for Sebastian Vettel puts Red Bull reliability in doubt

January 29, 2014 -- Updated 2035 GMT (0435 HKT)
Tense times for Red Bull's world champion Sebastian Vettel as his winter testing is cut short by his car's engine problems.
Tense times for Red Bull's world champion Sebastian Vettel as his winter testing is cut short by his car's engine problems.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Testing is cut short for Sebastian Vettel as his Red Bull is hit by engine problems
  • The four-time world champion says "teething problems" are normal
  • The teams are getting used to new engine technology as part of 2014 rule changes
  • McLaren's Jenson Button clocks the fastest time on day two of the first winter test in Spain

Follow us at @WorldSportCNN and like us on Facebook

(CNN) -- Could reliability be an Achilles heel for Formula One world champions Red Bull this season? If the first two days of winter testing are anything to go by the answer could be yes.

Four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel was stopped in his tracks by an engine failure after completing just eight laps in the new Red Bull racer Wednesday.

"We've not had a lot of running and have a few problems to sort out," Vettel told reporters at the Jerez circuit in Spain. "But with such big rule changes it is usual to have some teething problems.

"That's what tests are for, to sort those issues out. The next two days will be important to get some track time to prepare for the tests in Bahrain."

Vettel, who only managed three laps in the box fresh car on Tuesday, has now returned home to Switzerland and handed the keys of the 2014 Red Bull over to his new teammate Daniel Ricciardo for the remainder of the Jerez test.

Preseason testing is always a tense time but a major rule change has heaped extra pressure on the teams hoping to get their cars race ready for the opening Australian Grand Prix on March 16.

Can Caterham secure points in 2014?
Mentoring Vettel and Schumacher
Sebastian Vettel's hometown pride

The cars are now powered by 1.6-liter V6 turbo engines which also rely on a greater use of hybrid energy -- recovered through braking and from the car's exhaust gases.

Although engine suppliers Renault, Ferrari and Mercedes put their engines through their paces on dynamometers at their headquarters, they are running them on the cars for the first time this week.

Read: Schumacher on minds as F1 testing begins

Red Bull, who along with the Lotus and Caterham teams use Renault engines, had to cut short Vettel's track time because of problem with the energy recovery system on his car.

Engine gremlins also affected Toro Rosso, Red Bull's sister team, and driver Daniil Kvyat was not able to take his car out on track because of an electrical problem.

McLaren recovered from the technical issues that had kept its car in the garage Tuesday to see Jenson Button set the leading time in its 2014 racer with a best lap of one minute 24.165 seconds among 44 laps overall.

"For our first day of actual running, we were able to get a good understanding of the car, and the way the engine and turbo behaves," Button told reporters. "It's tricky, and very different to what we're used to, but I feel that these cars will be enjoyable to drive."

On Wednesday, McLaren also announced former Lotus team principal Eric Boullier as its new racing director as a restructure of the team continues.

It was another solid day from Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen, who set the second fastest time ahead of Valtteri Bottas in the Williams and Nico Rosberg's Mercedes.

Rosberg underlined Mercedes' reliability by ticking off 96 laps, all the more impressive as the car had to rebuilt over night following Lewis Hamilton's crash on the opening day of the test.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
Track the buzz of the 2014 Formula One season, race by race, with all the latest social reaction from motorsport experts.
November 7, 2014 -- Updated 1714 GMT (0114 HKT)
Glitz... check, glamor... check. Teams going bust... er, check. F1 generates billion-dollar revenues, so why can't some of its teams stay afloat?
November 7, 2014 -- Updated 1814 GMT (0214 HKT)
With the sport currently facing up to a financial crisis, motorsport journalist Ed Foster explores the history of F1 sponsorship.
October 21, 2014 -- Updated 0958 GMT (1758 HKT)
He's paid millions to drive one of the world's fastest cars, and he's one of F1's most colorful characters, but Kimi Raikkonen loves normality.
October 12, 2014 -- Updated 1745 GMT (0145 HKT)
It took a little longer than expected but MotoGP's young star Marc Marquez wraps up his second world title in Japan.
October 9, 2014 -- Updated 1039 GMT (1839 HKT)
Rising star Daniil Kvyat made history as the home hero at F1's first Russian Grand Prix, ahead of next season's move to Red Bull.
September 19, 2014 -- Updated 1358 GMT (2158 HKT)
Take the fittest driver in Formula One and test him against two of the world's leading triathletes in a high-performance laboratory.
September 5, 2014 -- Updated 1604 GMT (0004 HKT)
Mercedes has the fastest two cars in Formula One this season but there is just one problem -- there can only be one world champion.
He's the best of the rest -- Daniel Ricciardo has been Formula One's surprise package in the first half of the 2014 season.
July 24, 2014 -- Updated 1135 GMT (1935 HKT)
Formula One is not likely to go hungry in Hungary as master chefs cater in volume for drivers, teams and VIP guests.
July 3, 2014 -- Updated 1443 GMT (2243 HKT)
It's the elephant in the room of Formula One. What's the prognosis legendary driver Michael Schumacher?
May 23, 2014 -- Updated 2310 GMT (0710 HKT)
It stimulates all five senses, creating an unparalleled experience for drivers and fans alike. Take a tour of Monaco with Mark Webber.
ADVERTISEMENT