Red Bull’s Horner calls out “unacceptable” Renault

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A eighth-place performance from Daniel Ricciardo and a retirement from Sebastian Vettel was far from what Red Bull was hoping for on its home track Sunday in Austria.

Afterwards, team boss Christian Horner went on the offensive against engine supplier Renault with a broad attack.

“The reliability is unacceptable. The performance is unacceptable and there needs to be change at Renault,” he said to reporters at the Red Bull Ring.

Over the weekend, Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko had indicated that the team could go as far as to build its own engine in the future after what has been a trying 2014 season so far.

Such is the state of frustration at Red Bull, which has fallen behind Mercedes in the wake of Formula One’s shift to turbocharged, V-6 engines.

Horner himself said that such an idea was “highly improbable,” but added that while Red Bull wants to work with Renault in solving their problems, the manufacturer needs to get its act together.

“There will not be another engine in the back of the car next year, but we want to be competitive and we want to run at the front,” he said. “Something needs to happen because whatever’s being done there isn’t working at the moment.

“It’s not our business, it’s not our responsibility. We’re the end user and it’s just frustrating that the product is not where it needs to be at the moment.”

Renault’s deputy managing director, Rob White, sympathized as best he could with Horner’s frustration.

“The anxiety that Christian feels and the frustration he feels after a result that is not at the full potential of the performance of car and power unit is completely understandable and shared by us,” he told the BBC’s Andrew Benson.

“We are completely committed to making progress as fast as we possibly can and I think we have shown signs of progress before now, and we remain sure of where the expectations of Red Bull and Christian lie.”

Vettel was forced to retire his RB10 on Lap 37 to save his Renault engine. Early on in Sunday’s Grand Prix, an unexplained mapping issue caused him to lose drive when he pushed the overtake button in the cockpit.

The four-time defending World Champion was somehow able to reset his car and keep going, but had fallen a lap off the pace in the process.

As for Ricciardo, he suffered a poor start from fifth on the grid and, handicapped by the Renault’s lack of power, was unable to do much afterwards except stay in the lower reaches of the points.

Ricciardo set to see Dale Jr.’s final Texas ride in two weeks (VIDEO)

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We’ve written before about Daniel Ricciardo’s love of Dale Earnhardt and his love of the No. 3, which Ricciardo has selected as his permanent number for the duration of his Formula 1 career. And additionally, Dale Earnhardt Jr. has offered up the opportunity that one day Ricciardo could race a JR Motorsports car in NASCAR Xfinity Series competition, and Ricciardo has said he’d be up for it.

And although Earnhardt Jr. has only used the No. 3 on a handful of occasions in his career in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, Ricciardo knows how much the number means to the NASCAR veteran as he prepares for his final few starts in the Cup Series the tail-end of this year.

After the Mexican Grand Prix next week, Ricciardo is set to stay in North America for the off-week between the Mexican and Brazilian Grands Prix.

In that break, he said he’ll see Earnhardt Jr. in person at the Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway (Sunday, Nov. 5, 2 p.m. ET, NBCSN) to ensure he gets to see him before he retires from full-time competition.

Ricciardo explained his planning during Thursday’s pre-race edition of the NBC Sports Group original digital series Paddock Pass, speaking to NBCSN’s Will Buxton at the United States Grand Prix at Circuit of The Americas in Austin.

“Well I’ll see him for the first time in Dallas. I’m gonna go to the NASCAR race in two weeks time at Texas Motor Speedway,” Ricciardo told NBCSN.

“Yeah, so, I gotta see him race before he hangs up the helmet.

“The Earnhardt family is a huge name in motorsport, not only in America but all over the world. Yeah I wish him well.”

Ricciardo is also optimistic he’ll get the chance to do a helmet swap with Earnhardt Jr. at the event.

“Hopefully I get to see him perform well in Texas. I’m gonna try to do a helmet swap with him. We’ll see how we go.”

Stay tuned for more on this over the coming weeks.