Haas’ Nico Hulkenberg pulled over after the finish line in Australia, after suffering a failure of a hybrid ancillary component.
Nico Hulkenberg scored his first points since returning to Formula 1 as a full-time racer by coming home in seventh place at the Australian Grand Prix – the German driver even briefly looking a contender for a podium after a lightning getaway on the final standing start before the red flag was thrown and the order reset.
With Hulkenberg being given instructions to remain close to the pack in front as Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz was given a five-second time penalty, his team radio exchange with Gary Gannon reveals the moment of panic Hulkenberg had as he suffered a failure inside his Ferrari power unit that meant he had to pull over and stop once he’d crossed the finish line.
Hulkenberg: “F**k, I lost the engine…! OK, I think it’s OK again.”
Gannon: “It’s OK to go to the end.”
Hulkenberg: “I think I lost the gears.”
Gannon: “Chequered flag, Nico, chequered flag.”
Gannon: “Mode slow, and you were three seconds behind Sainz.”
Gannon: “Alright Nico, stop the car, we need to stop the car. Find somewhere safe, stop the car as soon as possible. Then P1, wait five seconds, then P0.”
Hulkenberg: “Guys, good effort, good job.”
Gannon: “Good job. Nico, you need to an ERS jump out as the car is not safe. So step on the bonnet and then jump. Tell them not to touch the car. You just go on the bonnet and jump off the car, OK?”
MGU-K failure to blame for Hulkenberg issue
It had been a chaotic race for Hulkenberg, including having had a scary moment as Alex Albon crashed in front of the Haas driver early on – Hulkenberg having had to take avoiding action as the Williams bounced off the tyre barrier.
Making it to the chequered flag, reports in German media suggest Hulkenberg was very fortunate to have made it to the finish of the race to claim six points for himself and Haas.
According to Auto Motor und Sport, Hulkenberg suffered an MGU-K failure, a critical component of the energy recovery hybrid system on the Ferrari power unit – the latest concern for the power units coming out of Maranello.
Both Alfa Romeos and Haas cars were fitted with new internal combustion engines for Australia, each taking the second of their three engine allocation.
There has also been cause for concern at Ferrari after an engine failure for Charles Leclerc while running in third in Bahrain. Both Ferrari drivers took on a second engine for Saudi Arabia, with Leclerc getting a grid penalty for having a third Control Electronics fitted during the Jeddah weekend.