Nico Hülkenberg had experienced such a mishap during the British Grand Prix, this time it was Carlos Sainz who had this bad time. Even before the Belgian Grand Prix, the Spanish rider was unable to reach the starting grid due to a problem detected on his power unit. Qualified seventh, he was unable to participate in the race.
Mclaren quickly made it known that a problem with the Renault block of the MCL35 then caused an exhaust failure, depriving its driver of a 109th start in Formula 1. In the immediate future, the Woking team did not more answers and awaits the conclusions of its engine manufacturer, first to understand what happened, then to know if the engine elements can be kept for the rest of the season.
"We have to wait for Renault's analysis on this specific problem", specifies Andreas Seidl, director of McLaren. "We spotted an internal problem with the power unit, which then resulted in damage to the rear of the car and the exhaust. It's obviously disappointing for Carlos and for us not even to be able to start. But that's the way it is, and we have to wait for the analysis to also know what the consequences are, if there is any chance of recovering this unit of power or if it is a crippling failure. "
"A missed opportunity"
McLaren could therefore only count on Lando norris to bring his hopes up in the race, and the Briton did his job pretty well. Tenth on the grid, he finished seventh and gained valuable points which even allowed the British team to steal third place in the constructors' championship at Racing Point. However, Seidl regrets the points likely wasted by Sainz's untimely abandonment.
"It's a missed opportunity because we could have had two cars well placed to score very important points, it's disappointing", Seidl ruminates. "The pace of the car was quite encouraging and we were able to take points at Racing Point and at Ferrari. We are back in third place in the constructors' championship, which is good, and for the future it is good to having a car that can fight against our rivals. It will also depend on the track characteristics, but it's good to be in a fight, to have a car and two drivers who can fight. "
For Sainz, disenchantment with Spa-Francorchamps is confirmed, he who has seen the checkered flag of the Belgian Grand Prix only twice in six participations, scoring only a small point with Toro Rosso in 2017.
"It's difficult for Carlos", regrets Seidl. "It's a big disappointment for him, but it's the same for us, for the team. Unfortunately, it's part of motor racing and it's important to stick to the facts, to analyze what wasn't, what happened, learn from it and make sure it doesn't happen again. The good point is, we're running again in not even a week. "