Helmut Marko says Red Bull have discovered the cause of Max Verstappen’s latest retirement but refused to go into details.
Verstappen was on course for a solid but not spectacular runner-up result at the Australian Grand Prix, the Red Bull driver unable to stick with race leader Charles Leclerc but maintaining a healthy advantage over P3.
And then disaster struck.
For the second time this season the Red Bull driver suffered a fuel pressure problem, his RB18 slowing before stopping on the side of the track.
Although pundits speculated that it was an engine-related issue, Red Bull team boss Christian Horner was quick to deny this but did not give a cause for the latest breakdown.
Marko, Red Bull’s motorsport advisor, has now revealed that it was a fuel leak that led to the driver’s DNF.
“We were able to clarify the cause of the fuel leak in Max’s car,” he told Speedweek.
The Austrian, though, would not go into details as to what led to the leak.
“The matter is very complex,” he said, adding that “the problem is absolutely different from that of Bahrain.”
In Bahrain, the problem with the Red Bull fuel system turned out to a lack of fuel pressure caused by a vacuum that prevented the pumps from drawing fuel and delivering it to the engine.
Losing a hatful of points with his two DNFs, Verstappen is down in sixth place in the Drivers’ Championship with the Dutchman conceding it won’t be easy beating Leclerc to the World title.
The Ferrari driver has a 34-point advantage over second-placed George Russell with Verstappen a further 12 points adrift after just three races.
“We are already so far down in the championship that from now onwards basically you first need to be faster than them (Ferrari), which we’re not, and zero problems with the car which we also don’t have,” Verstappen said, as reported by the Express.
“So it’s going to be a big task. It was just a terrible race, just no pace. I couldn’t push because the tyres were just getting destroyed.”
Complex cause of Max’s latest retirement
Max Verstappen's latest retirement in Australia turned out to be a fuel leak issue, similar but also different to the issue Red Bull had in Bahrain.