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Formula 1 United States GP

Red Bull: We didn't hide engine upgrade from Ricciardo

Red Bull insists that there was no attempt to keep Max Verstappen’s engine upgrade secret from Daniel Ricciardo, despite the Australian knowing nothing about it until told by the media.

Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull Racing on the drivers parade
Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull Racing on the drivers parade
Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull Racing RB13 retires from the race
Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull Racing RB13
Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull Racing RB13
Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB13
Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes AMG F1 W08, Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull Racing RB13, Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari SF70H
Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull Racing RB13 retires from the race

Verstappen was handed Renault’s new-spec engine, which features 2018 development parts, for the United States Grand Prix weekend.

The changes were estimated to be worth up to two tenths of a second if allied to the right fuel development, and Ricciardo was caught by surprise after qualifying when told that his teammate had a slight performance advantage.

Ricciardo’s lack of knowledge about the engine situation prompted wild conspiracy theories about Red Bull favouring Verstappen - especially in light of the Dutchman's new contract.

But the team itself says it never thought to mention the upgrade to Ricciardo because it did not believe there was a worthy performance gain from the new power unit.

“It is very difficult for us to measure what the difference is,” said Red Bull boss Christian Horner. “Renault have only made one engine available to each team and Max was due a change here.

"So obviously it made logical sense for that to go in his car this weekend and then take the penalty.

“The intention with Daniel, and it is still the intention, is to not to have to take a penalty between now and the end of the season.”

Pushed on whether or not being open with Ricciardo was an attempt to keep the different spec hidden, Horner said: “The spec is so marginal. We cannot measure the difference. It is within a fuel flow meter, so it is the same.”

Ricciardo was forced out of the United States Grand Prix after his Renault engine shut down when it began losing oil.

Without that, Horner reckoned the Australian would have finished on the podium.

“Daniel was losing oil with the engine and then it went into a safe mode. So I hope that that engine is salvageable.

“It is a great shame because he was hustling Valtteri [Bottas] very hard and looked very competitive at the beginning of the race. I think he would have been on the podium quite straightforward.”

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