Engine problems forced Sebastian Vettel out of the Australian GP after five laps
German unsure how long issues will take to resolve
By William Esler and James Galloway. Last Updated: 16/03/14 10:23am
Sebastian Vettel's conceded he was unsure how long Red Bull's lingering reliability issues would take to resolve after the start of his title defence lasted just five laps in the Australian GP.
The German had started in a disappointing 12th after a faulty sensor reading meant Renault gave him the wrong settings for Saturday's qualifying session and he was therefore down on engine power.
Red Bull said those issues had been resolved overnight, but Vettel's nightmare weekend continued in the race as the onset of engine problems meant he was swamped off the line and fell back through the pack before eventually retiring on lap five.
"By the second formation lap we had lost power and didn't know why then I had no power for the start and everyone was passing me," the World Champion told Sky Sports F1.
"We tried to recover as much as we could and at one point I thought there was a slight improvement, but then we realised that there was a bigger problem with the engine - it looked we lost a couple of cylinders - and when you don't have the power from the engine, you can't make the whole system function properly and you lose even more power and so we had to stop."
Taking heart from the front-running pace displayed in the RB10 by Daniel Ricciardo, the German expressed confidence that the issues would be resolved, but with just two weeks until the Malaysian GP, admitted he was unsure how long it will take.
"No doubt we can fix the issues, the question is how soon," Vettel added, who won the final nine races of last season.
"We are working hard in Milton Keynes and at Renault, obviously we started on the back foot, but we have learnt this week an awful lot, but we have also seen that the car is quick."
Prior to being called in to retire for the first time since last June's British GP, an exasperated-sounding Vettel was heard over the radio urging the pitwall to "do something guys, I've got no power".
Vettel quickly dropped down from 12th off the line
Speaking to Sky F1's Martin Brundle after the race, however, Red Bull team boss Christian Horner said the German's frustrations were understandable and pointed out that once out of the car Vettel did his best to assist the team's efforts with Ricciardo, who went on to finish second.
"Any driver that had the issues that he had, everything he tried just didn't work," Horner said.
"It's frustating: you're trying to get in the grand prix and the engine just wasn't working. Then he stuck around, he helped with what was going on on Dan's side of the garage.
"He was keen to see what he was doing, how he was using the fuel and so forth because of course he's going to learn from that as well. And he was offering advice to the pitwall. He was still keen from a team point of view to get as much out of it as we could."