Red Bull endured its worst season since 2006 due to engine reliability issues, says team boss Christian Horner.
The team suffered a total of 13 DNFs in the entire season with Max Verstappen taking seven and Daniel Ricciardo facing six failures. The massive number of retirements effectively ruled out any chance of the team challenging the title.
In 2017 FIA issued 780 gird penalties, out of which Honda got 380 penalties while Renault got 320. The top two teams Ferrari and Mercedes both had only 20 each for the whole season.
Horner said: “Reliability-wise, engine reliability, it’s probably been the worst year we’ve had since 2006,”
“Our engine partner is working hard to address that over the winter. They need it for their own team as well.
“Hopefully we can then put a campaign together to really challenge Ferrari and Mercedes, who will not be standing still either during the course of next year.”
Renault’s engine performance improved a bit after the summer break, helping Verstappen win at Malaysia and Mexico. But, the French power units still struggled a lot in the qualifying races.
“We’re seeing a bit of convergence on race day but still in qualifying, with these modes and potential use of oil and so on, there is still quite a differential certainly,” said Horner.
“The stopwatch doesn’t lie. We’re now going into year five of hybrid [engines] so one would hope by season five you do start to have convergence and they do start to understand some of the issues they have been struggling with.”
Although Red Bull had a slow start in the season due to a chassis issue, the in-season development helped the outfit challenge the top two contenders in a few races.
“It’s been a season of two halves for us,” he said. “At the beginning of the season, we undershot the target.
“Some issues with our tools over the winter created on-track issues, which it wasn’t until we started running [that] we were able to see things weren’t aligned with our simulation tools.
“Once we had understood that, we had a very clear development path.
“The whole team at Milton Keynes has worked incredibly well to put the amount of performance on the car that we have seen during the course of the season to get us from being a second off at race one to winning races on merit and arguably, in the last third of the season, having the strongest chassis.
“On our analysis, if you look at the last four or five races, on race day, we’ve had arguably the best chassis. That’s satisfying to see that progress.”