Ricciardo limped back to the pits and eventually started the race two laps down after a reset but did not even make it halfway through the full distance, retiring on lap 25.
"We looked pretty strong this morning and then we tried a few things this afternoon but I don't think they worked in our favor", said Ricciardo.
The problem follows Ricciardo crashing during qualifying on Saturday, and then being penalised five grid spots for a gearbox change before Sunday's race.
But when it was suggested to Red Bull team boss Christian Horner that this ruling had proved particularly costly for his squad because it had a more sophisticated device, he replied: "I don't believe so". On both occasions the auto just came to a stop so I couldn't do anything else.
"Don't get me wrong, it's been fun but I feel bad for everyone, especially the fans".
While Daniel Ricciardo grappled with his horrors, a triumphant Sebastian Vettel believes he's ushered in a fresh competitive era in Formula One. We've clearly had the third fastest auto [in Australia], we want to move closer to the cars ahead over the next couple of races. "I'm disappointed but I'll wake up tomorrow and be fine".
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The Ferrari ace cruised to victory, finishing nearly 10 seconds ahead of Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton.
"The suspension system that was outlawed was something that we looked to develop over the winter".
Speaking after the race, Ricciardo admitted his disappointment, but was buoyed by the race pace shown by his team-mate Max Verstappen.
Sadly, his time on the track didn't last much longer, and it appeared that as he was downshifting to take turn three on lap 29, the engine simply died. "Our pace was quite good compared to him and we were quite close to each other for the whole race".
But Sunday's season-opener around Melbourne's Albert Park circuit evidenced the revival of the famed Ferrari, though Vettel remained wary.
The Grand Prix was up against the opening round of AFL football: Josh Jenkins and Eddie Betts of the Crows celebrate a goal by Betts during the round one AFL match between the Adelaide Crows and the GWS Giants at Adelaide Oval on March 26, 2017 in Adelaide, Australia.