Renault: Hulkenberg problem related to MGU-K change

Nico Hulkenberg’s retirement from the Chinese Grand Prix was caused by an issue related to Renault’s new-spec MGU-K, the team has confirmed.

Renault: Hulkenberg problem related to MGU-K change

The team believes that the German's retirement was brought about by a software glitch that can be resolved without any need for modified hardware.

Renault was forced to produce a new spec MGU-K after McLaren’s Carlos Sainz suffered a failure in the Australian GP.

The Spaniard had the new unit for Bahrain, but the works team stuck with the original version, only to suffer a costly double retirement with both Hulkenberg and his teammate Daniel Ricciardo in the closing laps of the race.

Both works drivers and McLaren’s Lando Norris took revised units for China, and Renault believes that the change triggered a software problem that forced Hulkenberg out of the race.

“It’s too early to say exactly what happened,” Renault F1 boss Cyril Abiteboul told Motorsport.com. “But we had the problem in Melbourne, and a very quick reaction in Bahrain for one part only for Carlos.

“We had to push massively on production in order to get more parts, which meant that we had to fast track some of the process and some of the sign-off that we do. And basically something was triggered that we had not had the time to properly sign off. It’s not an excuse, it’s a fact.

“All of the other cars have worked without any problem using the same part. We’ve covered 5000kms on the dyno with that part. It’s just for one particular reason we went into a mode which triggered something in the software.”

Abiteboul believes that there will no need to rush through a third spec of MGU-K hardware before the next race in Baku.

“We don’t think so. We think it’s something that is outside of the part itself, we don’t think that the part that Nico was using was damaged. We think it’s a software issue, we think we need to change something on the software to deal with something that was changed in the hardware.

“That’s why we were hoping to try and fix it in the course of the race. Maybe it was not broadcast, but there were a number of actions that Nico was trying to do. He could not go as far as rebooting the whole car.

“That’s almost what was necessary. If you want to drive the car now, you could, it’s working absolutely fine! It’s a typical software problem – you have a ‘freeze’ you need to reboot. It’s pretty much what we were trying to do on track, but it didn’t work.”

Abiteboul conceded that Renault has to get on top of its ongoing reliability issues: “We need to investigate, and we need to stop putting ourselves in such a complex situation, backs to the wall, having to react in an emergency, because you can’t work in an emergency in F1.

“We are playing catch-up with that, and that has to stop as soon as possible.”

shares
comments
Kubica feels he has "no race pace" since F1 race return

Previous article

Kubica feels he has "no race pace" since F1 race return

Next article

Tost believes Kvyat penalty was "unjustified"

Tost believes Kvyat penalty was "unjustified"
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Event Chinese GP
Sub-event Race
Drivers Nico Hulkenberg
Teams Renault F1 Team
Author Adam Cooper
Why Mercedes isn't confident it's really ahead of Red Bull at Imola Prime

Why Mercedes isn't confident it's really ahead of Red Bull at Imola

While Mercedes struck back against Red Bull by topping the times at Imola on Friday ahead of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, the overall picture remains incredibly close. Despite having a possible edge this weekend, the reigning Formula 1 world champion squad is not taking anything for granted...

Formula 1
Apr 16, 2021
What Mercedes must do to keep its F1 title challenge on track Prime

What Mercedes must do to keep its F1 title challenge on track

Mercedes may find itself leading the drivers' and constructors' standings after Lewis Hamilton's victory in the Bahrain Grand Prix, but it is well aware that it came against the odds, with Red Bull clearly ahead. Here's what the Brackley team must do to avoid its crown slipping .

Formula 1
Apr 16, 2021
The double whammy that is defining Vettel’s F1 fate Prime

The double whammy that is defining Vettel’s F1 fate

It's been a tough start to Sebastian Vettel's Aston Martin F1 career, with a lack of pre-season testing mileage followed by an incident-packed Bahrain GP. But two key underlying factors mean a turnaround is no guarantee.

Formula 1
Apr 14, 2021
The themes to watch in F1's Imola return Prime

The themes to watch in F1's Imola return

Three weeks is a long time in Formula 1, but in the reshaped start to the 2021 season the teams head to Imola to pick things up after the frenetic Bahrain opener. Here's what to look out for and the developments to follow at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix

Formula 1
Apr 13, 2021
The 'new' F1 drivers who need to improve at Imola Prime

The 'new' F1 drivers who need to improve at Imola

After a pandemic-hit winter of seat-swapping, F1 kicked off its season with several new faces in town, other drivers adapting to new environments, and one making a much-anticipated comeback. Ben Anderson looks at who made the most of their opportunity and who needs to try harder…

Formula 1
Apr 12, 2021
The delay that quashed Aston Martin’s last F1 venture Prime

The delay that quashed Aston Martin’s last F1 venture

Aston Martin’s only previous foray into Formula 1 in the late 1950s was a short-lived and unsuccessful affair. But it could have been so different, says Nigel Roebuck.

Formula 1
Apr 10, 2021
Verstappen exclusive: Why lack of titles won't hurt Red Bull's ace Prime

Verstappen exclusive: Why lack of titles won't hurt Red Bull's ace

Max Verstappen’s star quality in Formula 1 is clear. Now equipped with a Red Bull car that is, right now, the world title favourite and the experience to support his talent, could 2021 be the Dutchman’s year to topple the dominant force of Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes?

Formula 1
Apr 9, 2021
Is Formula 1 as good as it has ever been now? Prime

Is Formula 1 as good as it has ever been now?

For many, many years Formula 1 has strived to do and to be better on all fronts. With close competition, a growing fanbase, a stable political landscape and rules in place to encourage sustainability, 2021 is on course to provide an unexpected peak

Formula 1
Apr 8, 2021