Ricciardo happy with Red Bull reliability despite ‘little issues’

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Daniel Ricciardo explains that Red Bull’s focus for the start of pre-season testing in Barcelona was on the RB12’s reliability, and says the day went well despite “a few little issues”.

Red Bull is coming off two challenging seasons amid recurrent problems with its underpowered Renault engine. After trying to find another supply for most of last year, the energy drinks giant still uses power units from Viry though under the TAG Heuer moniker.

Ricciardo enjoyed a productive opening day at the Spanish Grand Prix venue, clocking the third fastest time with 87 laps in the bank.

“We had a few little bits and pieces but we still managed nearly 90 laps today so generally it was a good first day,” said the Australian.

“With the few little issues we had we still managed some good long runs. I think that was important today, to get some good 15-lap runs to make sure the car’s not overheating or doing anything silly.

“We can then find the pace quite easy, reliability is always the first thing you want to try and solve.”

Ricciardo revealed during the winter that poor driveability on the Renault engine gave him whiplash in the early 2015 races before it improved over the course of the season. Asked to comment on the latest power unit specification he sampled on Monday, the 26-year-old replied:

“It pretty much feels like it ended last season, which isn’t a bad thing. It’s a much better platform to work on than what we had this time last year, which was good. There wasn’t any whiplash or anything like this so I’m a bit happier! It’s a good start and it’s probably all we can ask for at the moment.

“It ran pretty well to be honest but we’re still conservative, we’re not running it at race trim yet. I’m not sure if we’ll get a chance to tomorrow but certainly next week we’ll get a chance to stretch it out and see how it is.”

Ricciardo will return behind the wheel of the Red Bull RB12 on Tuesday before team-mate Daniil Kvyat takes over for the final two days of the first Barcelona test.

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