JEREZ DE LA FRONTERA, Spain, Jan 30, 2014 (AFP) - Reigning double Formula One world champions Red Bull's awful start to the 2014 season continued on Thursday as they registered just three laps on the third day of pre-season testing in Jerez, southern Spain.
After completing just 11 laps in two days with four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel at the wheel, Daniel Ricciardo got his first outing in a Red Bull having joined from sister team Toro Rosso in the off season.
However, it didn't take long for the Australian to be back in the garage as he had to abandon the RB10 midway through his first installation lap with smoke coming from the back of the car.
Ricciardo briefly made it out for two more spins around the track before the Austrian team announced they would not be doing any more running during the afternoon.
"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," race engineering co-ordinator Andy Damerum said in a statement released by the team.
"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."
Team principal Christian Horner and chief technical officer Adrian Newey are believed to have already headed back to the team's base in Milton Keynes, England to work on improvements after being pictured leaved the track early on Thursday.
And with only nine test days remaining until the teams land in Melbourne for the Australian Grand Prix to open the season on March 16, Damerum accepted they were behind schedule.
"It's obviously not where we want to be and naturally the whole team is frustrated by these issues. However, we're pretty good at bouncing back from this type of thing. This is where the whole team pulls together and I'm sure we will get these problems fixed."
Red Bull's issues have been far from isolated amongst the teams powered by Renault engines as Caterham and Toro Rosso have also struggled, whilst Lotus decided against testing in Jerez as their newly modelled car wasn't ready in time.
On the first two days of testing Renault powered cars managed just 38 laps compared to 248 by the four teams running on Mercedes engines.