For Daniel Ricciardo and his Infiniti Red Bull-Renault team, it has been a very difficult start to the 2015 season. The Renault engine has proved to be under powered and unreliable, leading to increasingly public tensions between the two sides.
After a spectacular engine blow up in the final hundred meters of yesterday's Bahrain Grand Prix for Ricciardo, he now faces a very difficult rest of the season as Red Bull will be forced to fit his fourth Renault engine for the upcoming Spanish Grand Prix, only the fifth race of the 2015 F1 season.
This is a major problem for Ricciardo as under new regulations for this year, every driver can only use four major engine components throughout the year, to aid increased efficiency in Formula One. If one more major engine component fails for Ricciardo between now and the end of the season, he will be forced to take a grid penalty for every new engine part installed.
Going on the unreliability of the Renault power unit in the opening races, with the Malaysian Grand Prix the only race where Ricciardo was not forced to fit a new engine during the weekend, it seems almost certain Ricciardo will be forced to start taking grid penalties at several points this season.
For a team that is already struggling to compete for even top five positions, let alone wins, any further grid penalties would be another added obstacle for Ricciardo and Red Bull to overcome if they want to challenge for wins and podiums as they feel they should be.
What is clear at the moment is that Renault need to seriously improve their power unit if they want to even match Ferrari let along Mercedes, although at the same time Red Bull have not asserted themselves as the most prominent Renault powered team, with the junior Scuderia Toro Rosso team looking just as good as Red Bull in the opening four races.
In terms of going forward in the future, Red Bull and Renault have a long way to go to regain the competitive edge they enjoyed between 2010-2013, with this latest news of another engine change for lead driver Ricciardo only adding to their early season woes this season.
What are your thoughts on this setback for Ricciardo?