• European Grand Prix

Renault apologises to Red Bull and Lotus

ESPN Staff
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Sebastian Vettel retired from the lead due to an alternator problem © Sutton Images
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Engine supplier Renault Sport has apologised to Red Bull and Lotus after alternator problems stripped both teams' drivers of an opportunity to win the European Grand Prix.

Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel was leading with ease when a safety car came out and soon after he retired when his alternator overheated and the engine shut down. Grosjean's alternator failed for a different reason but it had the same effect as a lack of fuel pressure brought his car to a halt.

"We do need to hold our hands up and apologise to both Red Bull and Lotus on the problems on the sister cars of Sebastian and Romain," Rémi Taffin, head of Renault Sport track operations, said. "Both suffered alternator failures, although it seems for different reasons at this point in time. Sebastian's overheated and the engine shut down, while Romain's alternator failed and the electrical power to the engine stopped.

"We will of course thoroughly investigate the reasons for this when we get the units back to Viry to try and ensure that Red Bull and Lotus, plus our other partners, do not have the same issue in the future. Similarly, we will also work to understand the reasons for Heikki [Kovalainen]'s KERS failure - there is a lot of work to be done between now and Silverstone but we have a strong team and resources in the factory."

Red Bull boss Christian Horner said it had been "enormously frustrating" after Vettel had looked likely to win the race with ease.

"Sometimes motor racing can be cruel. It was frustrating because Sebastian was in fantastic form and pulled out a huge lead to have a pit stop in hand. He was covering the pace of Grosjean behind once he managed to get past Hamilton and really had the race under control. During the safety car period it became obvious that we had a problem and we tried to manage it but soon after the restart a suspected alternator [problem], very similar to that of Romain Grosjean's, caused Sebastian to retire. It's enormously frustrating after being in such a strong and commanding position.

"You immediately start to see voltage dropping because the battery isn't being replenished and it's one of those things. We could see it, Sebastian could see it on his dashboard and it's very, very frustrating."

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