Pastor Maldonado has explained how the lack of power in the Renault engines has been particularly noticeable this weekend in Austria.
The Lotus driver qualified fourteenth at the Red Bull Ring yesterday, which is in fact his best Saturday result of the season so far. However, he made no secret of the struggles that Lotus and the other Renault-powered teams have been dealing with.
“For sure we are not where we want to be,” Maldonado explained after qualifying. “We were expecting to be even more competitive this weekend because of the kind of track and the downforce level of the track, but we realized that we are paying a lot for the lack of power here.
“It’s very clear. Even Red Bull, they are in the same conditions like us. In qualy, we are maybe a tenth away from Red Bull, which is not that much. I think in terms of work and what the team did and how we prepared for the race, I think we are not that bad. We are close to Red Bull, which is our main reference.
“They’ve been doing some podiums, some good races with the same engine, and here they are struggling more. For sure, they are slightly quicker still, but less than the other races.”
The Renault-powered teams – Lotus, Red Bull, Toro Rosso and Caterham – have all been struggling with their power units this season after the French marque fell behind schedule during the off-season. Despite coming a long way since the beginning of the year, there are still problems that are blighting the form of its customers.
In fact, the problem is so big at Red Bull that Helmut Marko has suggested the team could switch engine supplier or even produce power units in-house in the future.
For Maldonado, the focus in Austria will be on improving his best finish this season of fourteenth.
You can watch the Austrian GP live on NBCSN and Live Extra from 7:30am ET.