A Mercedes supplied part was to blame for Nico Hulkenberg’s failure to take part in the British Grand Prix, Racing Point has revealed.
A sheared bolt, which became jammed was the reason the power unit wouldn’t turn over, and that was the simple reason why Hulkenberg, who was standing in for a COVID-19 positive Sergio Perez, couldn’t take the start of the race.
It was a major blow for the German who was drafted in at the last minute and was looking forward to competing for the first time in nine months.
“It looks like a bolt sheared within the clutch housing and that bolt got caught and therefore wouldn’t allow the internal combustion engine to turn over,” explained team boss Otmar Szafnauer. “So where the bolt fell off, it got jammed, and we couldn’t turn the engine over.
“I think it’s a bit early to understand why, but it did shear off so it could be a material issue, it could be an over-torque issue, I don’t know.
“I’m sure all of those bolts are torqued to a certain specification, say the torque ratio isn’t set right and you over-torque it, it could shear it.
“It could be a material issue in manufacturing, but until you look into all of those things – was the bolt brittle for example, I don’t know – so we’ll have to understand the root cause and make sure we fix it.”
Szafnauer confirmed it was a part supplied by Mercedes, rather than something it had designed itself: “It’s not a Racing Point part, that’s a part we get from either HPP or MGP.”
Hulkenberg is also set to take part in next weekend’s 70th Anniversary GP due to the UK’s 10-day quarantine rule, therefore getting some race experience in would have been helpful according to Szafnauer.
“It would have been very useful for Nico to get a race in,” he added. “Unfortunately he didn’t.
“I think he did a great job jumping in the deep end, starting from zero really, he didn’t do any winter testing, didn’t understand the car at all, it’s a different car than he drove before, a different powertrain.
“The team is similar to when he was here, but he still had a different engineer as his old engineer is on Lance’s car, but the rest of the guys he worked closely with, so he did a remarkable job.
“It was a steep learning curve, he did great to qualify where he did and it’s a shame he didn’t get to race.”