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.

Al Unser Jr. back in IndyCar after a decade away: ‘Life is very good’

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There’s been somewhat of a hole in Al Unser Jr.’s heart ever since he retired from racing in 2007.

It was a void, something was missing.

But now, after a decade away from racing, Unser has found the right medicine to fill that hole in his heart: he’s back in the racing game again.

No, he’s not driving again (although he does participate occasionally in vintage races), but the two-time Indianapolis 500 (1992 and 1994) winner is definitely back in the IndyCar world.

And he couldn’t be happier.

“For me, it’s a dream come true,” Unser told IndyCar.com. “Since I stepped out of the race car and retired from racing, there’s been something missing from my life, and it’s racing.”

Unser has hooked up with Harding Racing. The team competed in three races last season as a ramp-up for a full 17-race effort this season. While Unser’s official title with the team is “consultant,” he’s involved in so much more.

His main role is as a driving coach to 2015 IndyCar Rookie of the Year Gabby Chaves. But he’s also involved in so many other areas, including helping the team obtain sponsorships and much more.

He then added, “I’m involved in every sense of the word except actually driving the car. And I’m happy about that because I’m too old to drive the car.”

Unser, who won CART championships in 1990 and 1994, is now 55. He’s so involved with his new job that he even moved from his native New Mexico and has relocated to suburban Indianapolis.

Not only is it a new start for Unser, it also is for Chaves. After running all 16 races in 2015 for Bryan Herta Autosport with Curb-Agajanian, he competed in just seven races for Dale Coyne Racing in 2016 and only three races for Harding Racing last season.

But he definitely impressed the team, with a fifth- (Texas) and ninth-place (Indianapolis 500) finish in the first two races and 15th (Pocono) in the team’s final run of the season.

That’s why when Harding Racing decided to go fulltime in 2018, Chaves was their pick for behind the wheel. And Unser was their pick to help guide him to potential stardom in the series.

“(Team owner) Mike Harding is definitely a person that when he decides to do something, he does it right,” Unser told IndyCar.com. “The potential for this organization is through the sky. We’re all working really hard here and we see the potential.”

And as for Unser?

“Life is good, life is very good,” he told IndyCar.com. “We’re back full force, eager and better than ever.”

Click here for the full story about Unser from IndyCar.com.