Max’s car has had some reliability issues but he has only recorded 4 DNF’s, 2 due to driver error (Bahrain & Azerbaijan crashes) & 2 mechanical (in order: Gearbox & Power Unit) and none since Hungary.
Ricciardo has recorded 7 DNF’s, 3 since the announcement (6 races) 2 of which were mechanical. Of the 7 DNF’s 2 due to driver error (Azerbaijan & *Belgium crashes) and 5 mechanical failure (Electrical, Gear Box/Electronics, Power Unit, *Power Unit, *Power Unit).
*Denotes post announcement and obviously this is only race retirements and doesn’t include any practice or qualifying issues.
I laughed at the conspiracy theories to begin with but it is getting to the point where it can’t just be coincidence.
Christian Horner is so bitter about the whole thing. A couple of races ago he was asked about the reliability issues and said that they should ask the Renault #1 (clearly referencing Ricciardo). He has also made no secret of the fact that he thought they had a deal in Budapest only for Ric to want to go on holiday first. Helmut Marko also expressed his disappointment and thought a deal was done in Austria and Dietrich Materschitz thought it was done in Hungary and to be signed the following week. They’re 3 very important and powerful people to piss off.
As Red Bull aren’t a manufacturer a lack of reliability doesn’t affect their brand in the same way it would Ferrari, Merc, Renault or Honda. They can blame whoever they want for a mechanical failure, it’s not their kit so they bear no responsibility. That along with them never going to finish anywhere other than 3rd in the constructors championship providing Max continued to get the results he was getting makes it more than plausible that they’re shutting the car down on Ric.
His reaction to the latest DNF wasn’t aimed at Renault so it’s clear that his dissatisfaction is with the team. There was hardly a look of despair on the RB wall when he pulled the car over last night. Apart from the reprisal of his American persons post qualifying, it’s clear he’s not enjoying himself and Red Bull don’t appear to care. It’s unlike them and against the marketing strategy that they have successfully used. Red Bull gives you wings but they can take them off you just as quick.