Red Bull: Fuel system vacuum triggered Bahrain F1 GP exits

Red Bull has established a vacuum within its fuel system triggered its double retirement for Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez in last weekend's Formula 1 Bahrain Grand Prix.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB18, retires

The team had looked set for a strong double points finish in F1's season opener before its race was turned on its head with a few laps to go.

World champion Verstappen, who had challenged eventual race winner Charles Leclerc for much of the event, slowed with a lack of power three laps before the end and had to retire in to the pits.

Then Sergio Perez, who was running third at the time, radioed that he too was suffering similar problems before his engine cut out at the first corner on the final lap and pitched him into a spin.

Red Bull immediately suspected that the problem was related to the fuel pumps but needed to take the cars apart to come to a definitive conclusion.

The analysis it has conducted since the race has confirmed that the issue was triggered by a vacuum being created in its fuel system. This meant petrol was not getting through to the engine.

The team has also dismissed speculation that has emerged over recent days suggesting that both drivers had simply run out of fuel.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB18, retires

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB18, retires

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

A spokesman for Red Bull said: "Both cars suffered from a lack of fuel pressure last weekend. The correct amount of fuel was in both cars, but a vacuum prevented the pumps from drawing fuel and delivering it to the engine.

"We've taken the necessary steps to correct this issue and we expect no problems this weekend."

Red Bull's double retirement left the door open for Ferrari to take a 1-2 finish in the season opener, with the Maranello squad appearing to have hit the ground running with the new rules era.

Speaking after the Bahrain Grand Prix, Red Bull team boss Christian Horner had explained that his team's disappointment had been hard to accept.

"I can't remember the last time that happened to us, but it's obviously your worst nightmare," Horner said.

"It's hugely disappointing, not only to lose a podium with Max but on the last lap to lose a podium with Checo as well."

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