Red Bull expect no repeat of fuel pressure problem behind Bahrain double retirement

2022 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

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Red Bull expect the fuel pressure problems which put both Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez out of the Bahrain Grand Prix will not recur this weekend.

The team came away from the opening race of the season with no points after Verstappen retired with three laps to go having run second behind Charles Leclerc throughout the race. Then, on the final lap, Perez’s power unit seized at the first turn, sending him spinning out of the race and a potential podium place.

After the race, team principal Christian Horner confirmed that the problem suffered by both cars was one they had not experienced during pre-season testing.

“It’s something that we haven’t seen previously,” Horner said after Sunday’s race. “It looks suspiciously like the failures are related to each other. Looks like potentially an issue within the fuel system.”

The failures led to speculation that Red Bull could see a similar problem this weekend at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. However, in a statement released by the team this morning, Red Bull said that they do not expect the problem to affect them again at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit, and also dismissed rumours the team had not put enough fuel in the cars.

“Both cars suffered from a lack of fuel pressure last weekend,” the statement read. “The correct amount of fuel was in both cars, but a vacuum prevented the pumps from drawing fuel and delivering it to the engine.

“We’ve taken the necessary steps to correct this issue and we expect no problems this weekend.”

Red Bull sit last in the constructors’ championship following their double retirement in Bahrain. Rivals Ferrari sit atop the standings with a maximum score of 44 points from the first round, with Mercedes in second place, 17 points behind Ferrari after Lewis Hamilton and George Russell finished third and fourth.

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2022 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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22 comments on “Red Bull expect no repeat of fuel pressure problem behind Bahrain double retirement”

  1. Was not a reliability fault of the PU, much easier to fixed compare to rival whom having a fundamentally unstable/slow car.

    1. However you colour it, it was a systemic reliability issue. It might be easy for them to diagnose and fix but it was still a reliability issue. Probably is easier than fixing a underperforming car but the Mercedes was actually the third fastest car with obvious and clear handling issues that they made big compromises on setup to make it through the race weekend. I’d be a little concerned if I was Ferrari and Red Bull that if they’re that close with a car that’s handling like a dog then once the issues are fixed they might end up actually being a long way back from Mercedes. Time will tell either way though.

      1. Absolutely, mercedes must not be underestimated, they’re usually quick at recovering performance.

      2. Broadsword to Danny Boy
        25th March 2022, 13:53

        It’s a fair point but even before taking Red Bull’s woes into account they were flattered by the late safety car. So yeah they are running in third at the moment but they aren’t quite nipping heels just yet. Mind you it may only take a handful of races before they are.
        I don’t know what the data says but the acceleration of the Merc looked good despite them running more wing (and hence drag), although may just have been a trick of the camera angles at the first race

  2. They can say whatever they like what the problem was but 3/4 RB powered cars didn’t finish the race. They almost made it but the only way for them to stop speculating is to bring 4/4 cars home and preferably at least one on the podium

    1. the fourth engine (tsu) blew up yesterday…

  3. It certainly wasn’t a coincidence that both cars stopped almost simultaneously. And another Honda engine blew yup shortly before that.

    But more interesting was the steering damage to Verstappen’s car after a pit stop. Was it dropped particularly heavily from the jack or is the structure inherently weak and a potential problem on circuits with high curbs?

    1. someone or something
      25th March 2022, 10:59

      It certainly wasn’t a coincidence that both cars stopped almost simultaneously.

      Of course it wasn’t. Increased evaporation due to the increased ethanol content was an issue everyone was wary of. And when can you expect this to play the biggest role? Exactly, when the cars are low on fuel, and the vapours have almost the entirety of the fuel tank to expand into, increasing the risk of the fuel pump drawing “air” (not quite, but something that has pretty much the same effect).
      Gasly’s issue was clearly unrelated. Which isn’t good news for Red Bull, because it means that whatever fix they’ve found for the fuel pump issue is unlikely to eliminate all their worries at once.
      THis is just to say that it goes way beyond “hurr durr, power unit bad”.

    2. Could it be that the thinner sidewalks are leading to suspension damage when dropping the car down from the jacks?

  4. Struggling to connect the dots between a fuel pressure problem in one car, and an engine seizure resulting in a spin in the other car…

    A well respected podcast race review was discussing the implications of the new E10 fuel on the fuelling systems being connected to the fuel supply issue, but still cant see how it would result in an engine seizure

    1. @unklegsif Pretty sure the engine didn’t seize but rather was starved of fuel due to the same issue with Max’s car.

    2. @unklegsif the explanation from scarbs was that the loss of fuel pressure likely meant the engine cut out and thus resulted in an immediate loss of hydraulic pressure that prevented the clutch from being pulled and the auto stall failed with the engine cutting off. Once the engine stops with the clutch engaged the engine braking would lock up the wheels thus creating a “handbrake” like effect that would lock the wheels and spin the car round instantly. You’ll note that Verstappen actually made it into the pits so his engine didn’t completely cut out or he pulled the clutch once in the pits while the engine was still barely running.

      1. Now that makes sense – missed that from Scarbs

  5. What the hell were they doing with a hoover in the tank in the first place?!?!


    1. It wasn’t a Hoover, it was a Dyson. That’s the problem. 🤣

      1. All I know is vacuums suck.

  6. Gasly’s MGU-K failure had nothing to do with Red Bull’s vacuum problem.

    Weird that commenters suggest otherwise.

  7. This just reminds me that Ferrari drivers know how to pass Max on the straight. Seems a talent Hamilton needs to develop ;)

  8. This seems to fix just 1 out of 3 issues they had. Steering and Gasly’s engine are not addressed. ‘Seems’ since I am also not convinced nr 1 is fixed since the effects on Perez’ car differed from Max’. To some extent RB is a stellar team since they are at the front for many years. To another extent they never seem to be able to get the top spot ever since the Vettel era. Without Max in that car, the RB would have been the 3rd or 4th best car last seasons. Somehow this year already looks to be another one of these ‘just not there’ situations.

    1. Nah, verstappen is good but he can’t do miracles, if you had put a leclerc, younger hamilton, perhaps norris in verstappen’s car last year they’d have been up there, it’s just perez that was far from extracting the potential of the car.

    2. That was a M-thingie which failed but got so hot things caught flame.

    3. Mayrton Of course RBR won 4 titles in a row and then the hybrid era changed all that as they didn’t have the pu to compete. They and Honda are to be applauded for mid-chapter taking on Honda (who were also on shaky ground) and building themselves up in much less time, to doing what they were able to do last season. Mercedes and Ferrari particularly were factory works teams that had the whole chapter between 2014 and 2021 to do their thing in-house, and obviously Mercedes dominated but with RBR finally able to actually bring the show to them throughout a whole season last year.

      “Without Max in the car…” For sure Max is incredible, but to me you might as well also say “without LH in the car” unless of course you think LH’s cars were that good that the driver didn’t matter at Mercedes. How about ‘without Vettel in the car’ when they were winning between 2010 and 2013? Without MS in the Ferrari between 2000 and 2004 particularly?

      Anyway…very early days and way too soon to be claiming they’re ‘just not there.’ Unless of course you think that after one race they should just hand out the trophies and call it a season. Perhaps you haven’t heard how everyone is talking about a race of development this season, particularly since this is such a drastically new and different chapter that has only just scratched the surface.

      But what do we know? The pu(s) are much closer to each other in performance amongst the teams than they were at the start of the last chapter, and so far Ferrari and Red Bull seem to be a cut above after one race of what likely will be a see-saw season.

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