Daniel Ricciardo endured a day of frustration as his Red Bull team called off their Formula One testing session after just three laps in southern Spain on Thursday.
It was the first outing for Ricciardo since his move to the constructor’s champions from Toro Rosso in the off-season.
But it didn’t take long for the West Australian to be back in the garage as he had to abandon the new Renault-powered RB10 car midway through his first installation lap with smoke coming from the back of the car.
The 24-year-old briefly made it out for two more spins around the track before the team announced they would not be doing any more running during the afternoon.
A reliable car has certainly been beyond Red Bull on the opening three days in Jerez with the team completing just 11 laps in two days with four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel at the wheel.
“We worked hard yesterday to make the changes it was felt were necessary to overcome the problems we identified and we were hopeful of a more successful day today,” said race engineering co-ordinator Andy Damerum.
“Unfortunately, the measures we took only partially solved the issue and, as with yesterday, it’s more sensible to stop and dig deeper into finding a solution.”
The issues are a major setback for Red Bull who seem well behind their title rivals with only nine more days of testing to come before the season gets underway at the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne on March 16.
It was a contrasting story for Denmark’s Kevin Magnussen who stole the show on his first outing in the McLaren.
Magnussen took over from teammate Jenson Button, who had gone fastest in the morning, for the afternoon session and bettered the Briton’s mark with an effort of 1min 23.276 sec.
Williams’ Felipe Massa was second fastest with Lewis Hamilton in third as the Mercedes continued to pile on the miles. While he didn’t match teammate Nico Rosberg’s mammoth 97-lap effort from Wednesday, Hamilton was the busiest man on the track as he went around 62 times.
Despite a fine start to his Formula One career, Magnussen believes it is laps completed rather than times that is the key so early in the season.
“Obviously I’m very happy about what we did and I’m especially happy about the laps we got in, but I am not really looking into lap times at the minute,” he said.
“I’m also happy with how many laps Jenson got in. The reliability has been much better than we thought and hopefully we’ll continue like that tomorrow.
“At the moment mileage is more important than reliability.”
Another former champion Fernando Alonso also made his first appearance of the season in the Ferrari F14-T.
The Spaniard’s arrival drew a much larger crowd than in the previous two sessions and Ferrari enjoyed another satisfactory day as Alonso finished fifth fastest after completing 58 laps.