(Motorsport-Total.com) – Lando Norris experienced an eventful Grand Prix of the Eifel – until his Renault engine in the rear of the MCL35 finally went on strike on lap 44. The Briton had to park the car on the edge of the track and watch the rest of the race from the sidelines. What led to the defect?
“It looks like we had the same problem that we had with Carlos in Spa,” explained team principal Andreas Seidl immediately after his home race. Carlos Sainz was unable to start the Belgian Grand Prix due to a fault in the Renault power unit.
Now it got Norris. “The problems first appeared around lap 20 or 25. So I struggled with them for longer and we also found a way to keep it under control. But that was really difficult because I had to keep pressing buttons,” describes the 20-year-old on ‘Sky’.
Confusion about Perez: “I must be blind!”
On lap 25 he radioed excitedly: “I’m losing power. Something is happening there, I’m losing power!” A little later he added: “The driveability is terrible. I have no power development. It’s getting worse and worse.” His race engineer then told him: “We see a sensor problem. Keep driving.”
“Default 03” radioed William Joseph to help. “Confirm, but it doesn’t get any better,” said Norris, increasingly irritated. At that point the Briton was in a strong third place ahead of Sergio Perez, having extended his first stint.
A short time later the racing engineer radioed a new instruction: “Multi H7, position 5!” And Norris replied happily: “It’s better! It’s better! It’s getting better, it’s not that bad. And [Perez] also pitted. “
Norris believed that Racing Point was turning behind him to change tires, but he was wrong. “Are we going to the pits, or what?” He asked the team. “Multi H7, position 6,” Joseph told him. But the Briton replied, confused: “But Perez stopped? What do we do about it?”
Only then did the race engineer tell him: “Perez is still behind you, 1.5 seconds behind.” Norris reacted surprised: “My mistake. I must be blind!” A little later he reported another deterioration: “It’s getting worse again, lose a lot of power! He’s now in the pits, has no more power at all.”
After further instructions from the pit wall, he finally went to the pit (soft-medium) to change tires on lap 29, one lap after Perez, which pushed him back to sixth place. “That’s still shit,” he yelled into the radio after his stop.
“That piece of shit,” rumbled Norris
“Default 03”, Joseph repeated like a prayer wheel on the radio. “We’ll probably have to use that throughout the race.” Norris looked annoyed and reacted defiantly: “Yes, but that doesn’t help at all!” Eventually, Perez passed the Briton in the NGK chicane.
On lap 34 he had to make way for team-mate Sainz. Compared to the Spaniard, Norris was already significantly slower at that point – in the following ten laps until he retired, he lost 18.6 seconds, 1.8 seconds per lap.
The team expected that he would fall further behind and believed that he could stay in ninth place ahead of Antonio Giovinazzi. “We need ‘Default 03’ on every straight, your pace is good. You are as fast as Giovinazzi.”
“That was tricky. I was fully focused on it. But we were still well on course for points. There was the potential to still end up in the top 10. Then at some point it went completely out. I tried everything I could “says the Briton, disappointed after his failure.
When he wanted to turn into turn 5, he suddenly had no more propulsion. “Such a piece of shit,” he rumbled, while he was still rolling along the pile of tires behind the gravel bed.
Instead of running straight back to the garage afterwards, he first had to digest his frustration. To do this, he sat on a chair of the marshals and watched the action. He didn’t take off his helmet.
Seidl: Hopefully it won’t happen again!
He later confesses that he is “naturally” concerned about reliability. “That’s not ideal. I’m not sure how serious the damage is. Let’s see. But that doesn’t put us in a good position because we changed the engine last night and now we had the problem.”
Norris has already had its third Power Unit installed in the Eifel and is now at the limit of its contingent six races before the end of the season. “It looks like we had a problem similar to the one Carlos had in Spa on the way to the grid, that was a problem with the ignition,” explains Seidl.
Misfires resulted in gross damage to the car as the unburned sprint ended up in the exhaust. “Together with our colleagues from Renault, we tried to bring the engine out of the protection mode, which the engine jumps into when such a problem occurs. But that was not possible because the problem persisted.”
After Norris parked the car, smoke could be seen in the stern. “We have to look now because the car has also burned under the bodywork, which is very annoying. But we have to wait for the analysis from Renault and then hopefully there will be a remedy that will ensure that it doesn’t happen again this year . “
Seidl is visibly upset and disappointed after the breakdown, as another problem occurred with the engine. “At first this is of course very disappointing, because we were on the way to a very good result today with both cars. Lando was on P4 and due to the different strategy he also caught up with Daniel”, the team boss explains in the ‘Sky’ interview.
He had hoped that Norris could fight for the podium against Renault and Racing Point on Sunday. But the defect prevented him from saying it was “extremely annoying”. “It would have been interesting how the different approaches would have worked.” While McLaren sent the British on a one-stop strategy, the Australian made two stops.
McLaren loses third place in the World Championship – Renault is lurking!
Would he really have had a chance against the Renault? “I think fourth place was pretty safe. He moved away from Perez and caught up with Daniel. Of course we don’t know how much Daniel spared his tires because he stayed out longer. But it would have been very interesting.”
Seidl believes that there could have been a showdown between the future teammates towards the end of the race. “We definitely lost a good fourth place with Lando today.” At least his pace in the first part of the race was positive.
However, McLaren lost valuable twelve points due to the retirement and fell back to fourth place behind Racing Point in the constructors standings. And Renault is only two points short of the British.