Suspected MGU-K issue leaves Nico Hulkenberg on penalty risk

Nico Hulkenberg is already on the brink of a grid penalty after he suffered a suspected MGU-K issue that curtailed his Chinese Grand Prix.

Renault has lagged behind its rivals throughout Formula 1’s hybrid era and in recent years the MGU-K has been regarded as a primary weakness.

A suspected MGU-K failure on both Renaults in Bahrain prompted the manufacturer to fit a new specification to its cars in China.

The Renault-powered McLaren cars were also fitted with updated MGU-Ks.

Chinese GP: Race Result | Drivers' Standings | Constructors' Standings

It was the second of two permitted MGU-Ks for the respective drivers for the entire 2019 season.

Should a driver have to take on a third MGU-K then they will face a 10-place grid penalty, a situation that Hulkenberg will face in Azerbaijan if Renault is unable to repair either of his previously used MGU-Ks.

“We pitted and came out in some traffic, but then I felt a loss of power,” said Hulkenberg, who was in the mix for points.

“We tried our best to fix it out there as it looked like a software issue, but it wasn’t possible and we had to park up.

“We’re looking into the issue, but it looks like an MGU-K related problem.”

Renault team-mate Daniel Ricciardo classified seventh to collect his first points of 2019.