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Red Bull take an early bath as Jerez woes stop progress
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Posted By: Matt Meadows  |  31 Jan 2014   |  3:39 pm GMT  |  69 comments

Red Bull’s first pre-season test of 2014 has come to a premature end after the Milton Keynes squad struck further mechanical issues on the final day in Jerez and has therefore decided to turn its attentions to the next test in Bahrain.

It comes at the end of a difficult week for the current Champions, in which they only completed twenty-one laps due to recurring power unit problems. It is by some margin the least productive test that the team has had endured it entered F1 in 2005. It leaves just eight days of testing in Bahrain, over two sessions next month, to sort the car and develop its performance.

“It’s been a very difficult test,” admitted Team Principal Christian Horner. “We have had numerous Renault issues as well as chassis cooling issues, which have affected our progress. However, despite the lack of mileage, what we have managed to learn shows that the problems should be solvable for the next test in Bahrain. Part of the purpose of this early test was to learn about any issues ahead of the start of the season and there will now be a lot of focus on the dyno over the next few weeks.”
 

The Bahrain test commences on February 19 and thus leaves the team and Renault Sport only a short time to remedy their situation. And while it will be frustrating to see Ferrari and Mercedes powered cars racking up miles across this test, Red Bull were aware that problems may appear at this stage and to catch them early will make for a smoother Grand Prix season.

“We did seven laps and every time Daniel went out we made improvements to the control of the engine,” said Race Engineering Co-ordinatorAndy Damerum.

“We were also making fixes to the issues that have arisen from our side and we have made progress there. However, we then discovered a mechanical issue with the car and after investigation it became clear we would not be able to fix this in time to run in the afternoon, so the decision was taken to retire early, take the data we have amassed and work towards the next test in Bahrain. Two weeks is a long time in Formula One and we and I’m sure Renault will work flat out now to solve the problems we’ve been having.”

* If you would like to hear the thoughts of James Allen on this week’s test and his feelings on pointers for the 2014 season, then you can see him take part in a Google Hangout on the Pole Position channel at 3pm UK time this afternoon. Click here to join in the fun JA F1 Google Hangout 31 January

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69 Comments
  1. Joost says:

    Why am I enjoying this soooooooo much?

    1. Michael says:

      All I have to say is it will be a very interesting season. Niki Lauda was right. This year’s show is going to be all about reliability.

    2. J.Danek says:

      b/c you are human…

      unlike Chris Horner.

    3. Delgado says:

      Something about the last being first and the first being last though its probably nowhere near as biblical as that.

    4. AlexD says:

      I do not know, but I would love to give you a huge hug:-)

    5. iamvik says:

      He who laughs last and things like that…

    6. ShaBooPi says:

      You aren’t alone. Hopefully they take an early bath in Bahrain too…

    7. DB4Tim says:

      Me too….bad thing is it IS F1 and bad to day can be winning tomorrow

    8. davexxx says:

      I do agree! I’m an ‘average’ F1 fan and have to say these pre-season antics have unusually got me gripped, and more interested to watch this season! Dare I say it – the Big Wigs have got it right, changing everything to create a clean-sheet re-start, and (sorry Red Bull) it’s GREAT to see the champions on the back foot that might allow different leaders this season. (Yes I know it’s early days and they might dominate again) Hooray!

      1. Alek Tronnicks says:

        I can’t believe that they have learnt nothing from the tragic Maria Villota incident and leave the tail-lifts a metre off the ground where anyone can walk around from the side of the truck & walk straight into it, or worse ( drive a F1 into it).
        Leaving them at that height also encourages the dangerous practice of jumping down from the tail-lift.
        I suggest RBR should be fined double points at Abu Dhabi.

    9. Kirk says:

      Remember last year? every time Vettel had problems was in practices and when that happened he then won the race, so I wouldn’t enjoy anything right now if I were you. I’m not fan of Redbull, but I prefer the others drivers and teams defeat each others in the track by merit.

      1. stoic says:

        That was practice, this is a test of a lot of new things. While Red Bull just wasted 4 days of testing trying to make all the systems reliable, other teams are already painting flowviz and installing airspeed sensors. And it’s going to get hot in Bahrain. Good luck to those Renaults.

      2. Kirk says:

        You are right, but what I mean is that this team has shown us it can overcome difficulties more than say McLaren last year, look the organizational mess ML have and that they are wanting to fix with Ron back as CEO, look at Mercedes three years dealing with the tyre temp or Ferrari with the wind tunnel, this is a team that won’t be defeated after the first problem and is capable to fight hard.

      3. Quade says:

        Its all merit whether its aero, electronics, computing or mechanical. Red Bull won on aero last few seasons, so its all fair if they loose on the engineering side too now that the engine is king.

        It is what the team has built that will go out on track and race. That’s merit.

      4. Tim says:

        Its all merit whether its aero, electronics, computing or mechanical….

        +1 very good point.

      5. Kirk says:

        Agree, but what I say is that laughing and jumping because they are having difficulties right now is not the way to think in a competition, just last week in the Australian Open Wawrinka had an amazing tournament but didn’t celebrate properly because he defeated an injured Nadal in the final, in tennis physical condition is part of the game as mechanical issues is in F1, but he celebrated more his victory over Djockovic more than when he got the title, based on what I’ve read in many post here there a lots of people who want Vettel/RB to be defeated, wouldn’t be better to defeat the best RB and no hopping it to fail?

      6. Quade says:

        There are no parallels between F1 and lawn tennis.

        the equivalent of an injury is an accident of sorts. But neither Red Bull nor Renault have had any such thing.

        A player can injure their back in lawn tennis after doing all the necessary preparation, but that’s absolutely different from a team not being ready an engine and has got their cooling design/calculations wrong; even worse, not knowing what’s wrong with their rig.

        Renault will have to redesign and test parts of their engine, while Red Bull will have to redesign its chassis (God alone knows what effect that would have on suspension, drive train etc). All in 6 weeks? From where I stand, it looks like an ugly, rough, tough road to nowhere (indeed, the blame game has already begun).

      7. Kinkas says:

        I am sorry Kirk. I am a Vettel fan, but using your logic, Merc and Ferrari have beaten Renault clearly. They designed proper racing power units (and reliable). What astonishes me, is how on earth Renault could not identify these problems while testing in dynos. However, no one can bet that Renault (and Red bull for that matter) can fix their problems in the coming weeks.

      8. Kirk says:

        Maybe I didn’t explain me in a good way, I’m just tired of those guys who want Vettel and Red Bull to fail and blaming them for a “boring” F1 when the problem is that the other teams haven’t done the best job. My favorite driver is Kimi and I want him to defeat The best Alonso (which I don’t like at all) not a Massa like Alonso for example. I guess you enjoyed more the 2012 Vettel victory over 2013, because it was harder and Ferrari and McL gave a good fight.

    10. Dathruthertz says:

      It’s called schadenfreude.

  2. Paul D says:

    Are the bulk of issues they are experiencing wider Renault issues, or are they mostly specific to Red Bull and their design.

    Read lots of stuff about Newey being over agressive on the design and it causing cooling issues etc

    1. Ed says:

      Well, RBR have done 7 laps today, STR have done 8, but Caterham are currently on 54 so it can’t all be down to Renault

    2. Andy says:

      It appears to be a bit of both. Caterham have done 50 plus laps, but Toro Rosso haven’t done much which suggests similar ‘packaging’ issues to Red Bull.

    3. Dave Emberton says:

      50/50 perhaps. It seems that all the Renault teams have had a bad time, but Red Bull have been affected the most.

    4. Brace says:

      Well even Caterham managed more laps in a day, than Red Bull did in all four.

  3. James Clayton says:

    Well the Caterham’s managed a good amount of laps today; so the Engine does go, at least!

    I do find it slightly amusing though; wasn’t it basically a case of Renault forcing the hand of the FIA to legislate these new power units in the first place?

    1. Sossoliso says:

      Caterham may have taken a delivery of a Renault Engine, Opened the ba and slumped the thing at the back of the jalopy. That is not how RB work.
      They probably want something clever done specifically for them on the engine to make it behave in a certain way.. ring any bells.? Wait until the rest start complaining after Australia of New Redbull tricks.

      1. Quade says:

        I foresee the only Red Bull trick this season to be getting out of the pit lane without a high tech barbeque raging in the innards.

    2. AlexD says:

      Yes, Renault said that either new rules are in or they are out. Also I would say RBR and Renault is a works team…the engine is designed for Red Bull.

    3. Jonathan says:

      It looks like the engine goes… but what about the electrics?

      Caterham did about as many laps today as the 3 Renault engines have managed all week. However their best lap was some 15 seconds off the pace (but still faster then RB or TR)… so it looks like they were all done without the ERS working.

      So, at the moment, Caterham are the leading Renault engined car!

    4. John S says:

      I don’t know about Renault specifically forcing it (though they certainly did benefit), I believe these new engines were put in place to entice other manufacturers to enter F1 (like Honda).

      1. James Clayton says:

        I’m pretty sure Renault threatened to quit if the V8s stayed. Not sure how they’re benefiting from the change at the moment, either :)

      2. John S says:

        It’s a short term suffering (even if it lasts all season). It’s all about road car relevant technology.

    5. pepe-le-pew says:

      ALA BMW and KERS, i hope this isnt going to b a trend of the biggest supporter of a specific tech being the biggest loser.

  4. luqa says:

    It would seem some of the Renault power delivery problems were known before this test, It explains Lotus not attending at all and the comment others might not be ready either.
    Then of course there is the usual AN tendency for extreme packaging which brings about cooling issues etc.
    BUT rather get the data now and fix rather than wait until March 17th.

  5. Richard says:

    No I don’t think Red Bull and Renault will take long to sort their reliability problems out, and they should come back to Bahrain smiling. In a way I sort of expected issues like this to occupy the Jerez test. It does mean that they will have less time to search for performance effectively putting them behind on the back foot. I think more worrying for them are stories that the Renault engine is down on power relative to the Mercedes unit. If the 80 horsepower figure is to be believed that’s a serious handicap!

  6. goferet says:

    For sure 2 weeks is a long time in formula 1 but judging from experience, I have doubts if the team can turn it around before the start of the season.

    I mean we saw in 2009 after major rule changes when Mclaren and Ferrari were uncompetitive, they weren’t able to solve the issues during winter testing and in Mclaren’s case went till half way in the season before everything was A-okay.

    Anyway, this Renault situation is a reminder to the private teams that it’s better to have destiny in your hands by producing your own engines, gearboxes etc otherwise, you’re left at the mercy of others.

  7. Andy says:

    Whilst Red Bull and Toro Rosso have just over a couple of weeks to sort out their problems, further problems are likely to arise in Bahrain with the increased temperatures.

    I still struggle to see what Lotus think they are gaining by not going to Jerez, assuming that was the real reason of course.

    1. James Clayton says:

      It’s possible that it’s a cost vs reward thing.

      If you’re struggling financially and you believe you’re only likely to get a handful of laps in, why not let the works teams and the backmarkers get all the teething problems out the way first?

  8. shri says:

    Tough for Renault and Renault powered teams at the moment.

    Key will be how quickly can they turn it around or Ferrari and Merc powered teams are too far ahead of the curve in the meantime.

    Red Bull has most resources than any Renault powered Teams.

  9. AuraF1 says:

    Auto sport showed burning embers/sparks flying out if the back of Ricciardos car…the fact that Renault have finally gotten some running in the less aggressively packaged Caterham suggests they can get on top of the issues their side but it’s the whole Red Bull packaging compounding the issues with poor cooling. Neweys genius clearly has an issue with packaging – in the past it mainly impacted Webber (probably because of his physical size?) but seems like the RB10 is even impacting on smaller drivers like Seb now.

  10. rob in victoria bc says:

    Chassis cooling issues? Powerplant, fluid, and brake cooling issues l know of – but chassis cooling? What does that mean?

  11. jmv says:

    Is this a matter of Red Bull not having had enough time to test their cars on a rig in the factory?

    Is that when the entire car is loaded onto a “circuit surface” similator and it drives around the track, vibrations etc included.

    Really looks like the engine never “ran” in the car..

    Have they rushed it to Jerez?

    Clearly Caterham got their car working.

    (I guess Christian Horner wont be commenting on Ron Dennis return to the paddock anytime soon)

  12. Jeff says:

    Questions

    What are the restrictions on running the car outside of official test dates?

    Are they still allowed straight line testing?

    Can they even run the engine, in the car, without the car moving>

  13. Steve Zodiac says:

    Makes you wonder if Lotus are really still the official Renault team, “Psst. Hey Lopez don’t bother going to Jerez the engine isn’t ready yet, lets let those other suckers do all the donkey work then you can come out in front!”. Ok I know it’s not the case but I do think Lotus will be secretly laughing up their sleeves now

  14. James AWOL says:

    The downside of the genius of Adrian Newry!

  15. F1fletch says:

    RB has lost serious time to the other teams now, time to earn their championship cred. Meanwhile a few other teams seem on song and reliable telling me we will see them begin to turn up the wick and see how fast they are in Bahrain well ahead of RB who need to just do some race distances (at least). The Merc seems to be quite reliable and you have to say they have things lined up nicely for Bahrain. It is going to be sooooooo exciting to see some quali laps put in, seems so far they have been running the cars well below full power and redline.

    Awesome stuff!

  16. Mike Martin says:

    I really do hope Red Bull and co get their game on 100% in 2014

    What we do NOT want to hear at the end of the season is;

    “Mercedes or a other team only won because Renault screwed up” or “Red Bull missed loads of time in pre season testing so the had limited time to prepare” or any other lame excuse. What we want is that Red Bull to operate at it’s very very best. I even hope that they will do some Red Bullying and even have/get their way. That’s how they have to be defeated. No lucky TKO, I want them down.., K.O, lights out, belly up :)

    Lewis or Kimi WDC 2014. One of these guys deserves another championship and you all know it.

    Gooooo Lewis!

    1. Kirk says:

      Completely agree with you, if you read the posts above, many people are happy because this is happening to RBR, but I don’t, as you I want a real competition on track, obviously having in mind that these are car races and mechanical issues are part of the game. In my case I want Kimi to be the 2014 WDC, but I want him to defeat the other drivers in their best conditions.

  17. Gaz Boy says:

    Oh dear. Has the charging bull turned into a knackered old cow? I know it’s early days and all that, but Bull may as well of stayed home and concentrated on fine tuning their machine. Perhaps Lotus knew something Bull didn’t?
    As said, early days, but already Merc, Macca, Frank and Italian stallion have enjoyed the benefit of lots of laps, decent reliability and plenty of information to help them perfect their design. Must be a great feeling going onto the track and seeing your creation working well straight out of the box. Merc Brixworth were very confident going into season over their new V6 engine, and so far, so good for the Brixworth boys and girls.
    What is worrying for the Bulls is that this test session took place in the temperate conditions of Europe, I think ambient at Jerez was only around 10c. When the teams hit the track in Bahrain, in all likelihood they will do so in scorching heat of the desert. If Bull are struggling for reliability in the cool conditions of Spain, then how will they cope in the sweltering desert? Bulls and Regie have a lot issues at the moment. At this moment in time Macca, Merc, Prancing Horse and possibly Frank are seemingly on the right course.
    Also, poor old Dan – he flew out to Jerez thinking “at last, I get to drive a competitive F1 car for the first time in my career” and the damn thing keeps breaking down!

  18. Graham Passmore says:

    It’s looking like Lotus are lucky. By not having the chassis ready, the team must have saved quite a chunk of change not bringing the squad to Jerez, only to wallow about like Red Bull. My ideal 2014 season: after a shaky start with technical issues, our Sebee storms back, taking the 5th straight in the last race thanks to the double points! Won’t that make Bernie apoplectic!

  19. sunny stivala says:

    The Catarham went longer on mileage with the Renault power unit than Red Bull and Toro Rosso as they don’t have the packaging/cooling problems of Toro Rosso and Red Bull and so they were able to use the Renault power unit as strictly advised by Renault from before the four day test started, the advice was “to use the power unit for a maximum of 250km (56 laps), and only up to 75% of its output”, and they didn’t even manage 56 laps sticking to what Renault instructed.
    Both Renault and their customer teams are in one of the biggest mess ever seen in F1 and the time they have to rectify their problems before the first race is very short indeed if not impossible.

  20. Jason says:

    Good! Maybe Red Bull will completely suck and we’ll actually get an entertaining and competitive season, unlike last year.

    1. AlexD says:

      I hope so!

  21. Johnny Z says:

    Would Renault’s problems would be as big if Toro Rosso still had Ferrari power? Red Bull and Renault can’t take the engine cover off the Toro Rosso and see what Ferrari is doing compared to their own setup. Red Bull wanted STR to use Renault engines, they’re reaping what they sow.

  22. DB says:

    I thought it was only a money problem, but now I wonder if Lotus had the right idea about their power plants.

    1. Bryce says:

      Just lucky.

  23. AP says:

    I’m amazed at this (and secretly happy!)

    I had always imagined that a team could at least start their car etc to check it worked at the factory before coming to the test. Is this not the case?

    1. Bryce says:

      Not a secret anymore, as even I know.

    2. DB says:

      I was wondering the same thing. I mean, the engines run on on dynos and the cars must be run at least through thermal computer simulations. Couldn’t they put things together and check the correlation?
      Perhaps Mr. Gillan could provide some insight into this matter, please?

  24. RC says:

    I just like how they say the ‘amassed’ data…

  25. Elie says:

    Every year I say this and despite the enormity of the new cars and regs- it is only testing and for Renault powered cars it could actually be a blessing in disguise if they somehow work out how to fix these complex power units very quickly- that could be a huge knowledge during race weekends .If the others dont have these failures – how do they know how to deal with them on race weekends?
    It still is a massive advantage for Merc / Ferrari powered cars but we all know how quickly things can turn in F1 and have we all forgotten how quickly Red Bull find things after summer break. I’d love to see the bulls get carved up this year but Im not prepared to rule anyone in or out just yet.

  26. Olivier says:

    James, in what way is Red Bull allowed to re-design their car? They can’t change their chassis anymore?

    Could they end up with a totally different looking car in Bahrein?

    1. James Allen says:

      Can’t change their chassis without all the other teams agreeing to it – as happened with Virgin Racing when the fuel tank wasn’t the right size in early days with Wirth Research

      Given that they are playing catch up now, I bet they are delighted that the last 3 races may be double points!!!!

      At least the last one is definitely double points

      1. Vivek says:

        Surely some one needs to impress upon the rule-makers. If AT ALL need 3 races to be double points (I am not a fan of this double points idea) it has to include the first race and the last race. Give each team a wildcard race to select a double pointer for themselves. That would be most fair isn’t it?

        You must reward the people who have done the best job right at the start of the season. Those who have meticulously prepared to hit the ground running. This will be ensure by making the first race a double pointer.

      2. Olivier says:

        Here’s another idea:

        Why not having Double Points for all five classic venues instead of the final three races?:

        1. Interlagos,
        2. Suzuka,
        3. Monza,
        4. Spa,
        5. Silverstone

        This way the Championship would swing throughout the Season? Especially Spa and Monza would reset the tables mid season …

      3. James Allen says:

        I’m not a fan of double points at any venue. This season it will get political with the Renault teams starting off on the back foot.

  27. Adrian Newey Jnr says:

    James – will we see a repeat of Prof Gillan’s except short/long run analysis as per last year?

    Rumour has it that Gary Anderson will feature less on the BBC’s commentary. Could JAonF1 incorporate his expertise?

    1. James Allen says:

      Yes, we aim to do the analysis as last year, once the times become more representative

      Mark Gillan is very much part of JA on F1 for 2014

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