Red Bull motorsport advisor Helmut Marko and team boss Christian Horner have confirmed that Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez retired due to fuel supply issue as they engines run out of fuel in the closing stages of the Bahrain GP.
Red Bull held second and fourth place three laps before the end and after Verstappen’s earlier problems with the power steering Red Bull suffered a real disaster because Verstappen and then Perez had to retire.
Red Bull retired with three out of four cars in the first race with a power unit bearing their name as Gasly had previously retired with his AlphaTauri caught in flames, triggering a late safety car.
After losing his position in the duel with Sainz in the second DRS zone, Verstappen started to slow down dramatically on the approach to the last corner after which he turned into the pits while Perez spun in the first corner in the last lap due to a fuel supply issue.
“The failures on Verstappen’s and Perez’s cars seem to be the same,” Marko told ORF.
“Max first had a problem with the power steering. He could barely turn the wheel.”
“In the end, we had a malfunction somewhere in the fuel supply on both cars. That’s also why Perez spun because he didn’t have the power in the corner.”
On the eve of the breakdown, Verstappen asked the racing engineer ‘what about the battery’ to which the engineer replied ‘the battery is OK’, and Verstappen panicked and replied ‘no, it’s not, what the fuck is going on?!’.
“The battery has nothing to do with the malfunction, that’s what Max thought, but there just wasn’t enough fuel. We need to investigate,” added Marko.
“We don’t have a final explanation, it’s something completely new. It’s all just speculation for now.”
“It’s hard to retire after such performances with both cars with the same malfunction.”
Potential fuel supply issue was confirmed by the team principal Horner.
“We will need to conduct a full investigation into what happened, but it looks suspiciously like the failures are related to each other and it may be an issue with the fuel system,” he said.
“The positive side for us is that we clearly have a competitive car, I don’t think we quite had the pace today, but there was some great racing between Max and Charles. It’s an incredibly long season with 22 races remaining, so we need to get on top of whatever this issue was today and come back stronger next weekend.”