How one bolt caused Hulkenberg's pre-race retirement at British GP

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Racing Point has revealed one bolt was responsible for Nico Hulkenberg failing to start Sunday's British Grand Prix.

The German, who had been drafted in at the last minute following Sergio Perez's positive test for Covid-19 on Thursday, was due to start 13th at Silverstone.

But as the rest of the field headed out to the grid, his car was seen in several bits in the garage not going anywhere.

“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," Racing Point boss Otmar Szafnaeur explained.

“I think it’s a bit early to understand why but it did sheer off so it could be a material issue, it could be an over-torque issue.

“I don’t know, but until you look into all those things: was the bolt brittle, was the material brittle? I don’t know. So we’ll have to understand the root cause and make sure that we fix it.”

Commenting in the paddock, Hulkenberg took it all in his stride despite the obvious frustration at the late dash from Germany ultimately coming to nothing.

“It's crazy, isn't it? Somehow it fits into all these crazy days that I've experienced,” he said, “but obviously disappointing for me and for the team.

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“They tried everything, but [due to] some sort of power unit issue, we didn't manage to start the car and get out there, which is obviously a disappointing problem.

“If there's a next weekend, then today would have been very important to get more experience to understand and learn more about the car, especially in the race conditions.

“This is just lost on that side, but I guess it is what it is now. We'll have to see how things go for next weekend.”

Initially, it was expected Hulkenberg would be needed for both Silverstone races as, under UK government health guidelines now state all who test positive must spend at least 10 days in self-isolation.

However, there is now confusion over whether Perez may in fact be eligible for this weekend if his next test is negative.

"The little bit of confusion is because it was on that cusp and the inconclusive test was only inconclusive by FIA standards," Szafnaeur explained.

"By National Health England standards, that inconclusive test would have been a positive, so you can look at it and say it's the National Health England standards and he was positive on Wednesday already.

"But on Wednesday you had to quarantine for seven days, and the 10 days that came in the following day may or may not be retroactive, that's the bit I don't know.

"So we'll ask that question of National Health England and whatever they say, that's what we'll do, we'll comply with whatever they deem is right in this situation, but the ambiguity comes in because it was just on that transition point."

If not, then Hulkenberg will get another chance at the second British race running as the 70th Anniversary GP.