A gutted Red Bull team on Sunday night was ruing a catastrophic Korean grand prix, where Mark Webber lost the championship lead, and Sebastian Vettel the race.
The immediate attention centred on pole sitter and race leader Vettel's Renault engine failure, which Helmut Marko said took the team and its supplier by complete surprise.
"It did," the Austrian said on German television RTL. "It's our first engine failure this year.
"The mileage was at about 1600 kilometres, and normally the average (life) is 2000-2100," added Marko.
"Something broke in the valve area, so it's the first time. On Friday we were using an engine with much higher mileage," said the team's motorsport consultant.
He advised German Vettel, 23, not to give up.
"It's not easy, but there are still 50 points to get," said Marko. "Alonso is on his last engine. We're not giving up."
Renault apologised for the failure.