Nico Hulkenberg, Racing Point, Silverstone, 2020

Sheared bolt caused engine failure which put Hulkenberg out

2020 British Grand Prix

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Nico Hulkenberg failed to start the British Grand Prix on his return to Formula 1 due a sheared bolt within his power unit, Racing Point have confirmed.

The broken part prevented the team from being able to start his car, and he was unable to take part in the race.

“It looks like a bolt sheared within the clutch housing and that bolt got caught and therefore wouldn’t allow the internal combustion engine to turn over,” explained Racing Point CEO Otmar Szafnauer. “So where the bolt had fell off it got jammed and therefore we couldn’t turn the engine over.”

The part which failed was not manufactured by Racing Point, Szafnauer confirmed. the team obtain their power units and some associated hardware from Mercedes.

Szafnauer said he doesn’t yet now what caused the bolt to fail. “I think it’s a bit early to understand why but it did sheer off so it could be a material issue, it could be an over-torque issue.

“I don’t know, I’m sure all those bolts are torqued to a certain specification. Say the torque wrenches just aren’t right and you over-torque it, it could sheer it. It could be a material issue in manufacturing. But until you look into all those things: was the bolt brittle, was the material brittle? I don’t know. So we’ll have to understand the root cause and make sure that we fix it.”

Hulkenberg is expected to return for the team in next week’s race, and Szafnauer said he would have benefitted from the opportunity to race today.

“It would have been very useful for Nico to get a race,” he said. “And unfortunately he didn’t. I think he did a great job jumping in the deep end, starting from zero.”

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
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...

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28 comments on “Sheared bolt caused engine failure which put Hulkenberg out”

  1. Still no podium in sight

    1. He would have been on for a Podium today.

      1. I highly doubt it. Stroll in P9 and Nico was way behind him all weekend.

  2. Given his exceptional bad luck – throughout his career – Hulkenberg must be wondering if he’s truly cursed. Truly heartbroken for him.

    1. Still a chance of a good result for him next week @rocketpanda. Hotter temps and softer compounds mean that conditions will be different too, so hopefully the disadvantage of missing this race won’t be felt quite as much

    2. perhaps he need some blood transfusion from the world luckiest driver, #44

  3. finger trouble, it happens. Lost another opportunity to shine.

  4. Sheered bolt?..
    The Hulk Curse strikes again

  5. The bolt must have been made from the Krupp steel that Herr Hitler always bragged about how tough it was.

    1. Interesting comment.

      1. What are you on about Lynn?

  6. He should be the driver of the week end for all he managed in a so short laps of time and he prove with his qualification on Saturday that he is always a F1 man.
    It is a shame that he could not start the race.

  7. The part which failed was not manufactured by Racing Point, Szafnauer confirmed. the team obtain their power units and some associated hardware from Mercedes.

    .. well well.. and Strolls pace was exceptional bad.
    Coincidence of course..

  8. Sums up his career. Ffs.

  9. I wanted the Hulk to “SMASH” this and get his (totally deserved) podium.

    Sorry to ask Checko but could you do me a favour and let him have another shot next weekend please?

    1. @nullapaxpax UK law means Perez must isolate for 10 days after a positive test, so I can’t see any reason why Hulk won’t get another shot.

  10. A conspiracy theorist would say that Racing Point is doing everything in their power to ensure people believe Stroll is the right choice to sit alongside Vettel next season. Every problem is happening to his teammate. A true conspiracy theorist would acknowledge that Perez doesn’t even have Covid19. Of course, next week when Nico does make the field but crashes out or has a tire failure keeping him from a 3rd place, they will talk about Nico’s luck rather than the Truth™.

    1. I would be lying if I said that thought hadn’t crossed my mind. In all my years of watching F1 I have never heard of a team say that they just couldn’t get the car started on a Sunday morning (though I could be wrong – my memory is not the best!) You have to wonder if there is something more to this story.

    2. Except that Stroll outpaced him all weekend… Not to mention all the other financial reasons why two cars in the race is to the team’s advantage but don’t let that get in the way of stupid ideas.

      1. Stroll narrowly outpaced a man who hadn’t driven a F1 car in 8 months, and was brought in at the 11th hour. He then proceeded to potter around in what is basically a 2019 Mercedes and manage to bring home just one or two points. Yeah, he was really impressive. Stroll Senior needs some kind of justification for keeping his son in the car for 2021 and him being beaten by a substitute driver would not help his case. Let’s see what happens next weekend.

  11. It did cross my mind that this was the story to cover Nico being unable to complete race distance due to his neck not being prepared. It did seem positively bizarre that they seemed to give up on getting the engine to start so early that Nico was in civvies on the pit wall at the start of the race.

    1. @kerrymaxwell
      I’m kinda with everybody who says this seems funny. I thought too there was some read they didn’t want him to race.

      As far as giving up and getting him out of the car – when some thing has a mechanical interference it is pretty clear. You try to turn the engine but it is solid as a rock. Or there is a thunk and a sudden stop. Either is followed by a dreadful feeling in your stomach, because there is no solution that doesn’t involve taking stuff apart.

      Those guys are ace mechanics, so they knew right away it was over.

    2. It did seem positively bizarre that they seemed to give up on getting the engine to start so early that Nico was in civvies on the pit wall at the start of the race.

      I thought that too – I do really enjoy a good conspiracy theory, though :)

  12. …no, Checo paid a mechanic to leave that screw loose, and Hulk won’t use his car. …LOL

  13. The heartbreak of the weekend.

    I was really looking for the Hulk, to show Lance is nowhere on race.

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