Renault ‘not back on schedule but headed in right direction,’ says White
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Posted By: Justin Hynes  |  22 Feb 2014   |  5:01 pm GMT  |  266 comments

Renault Sport F1′s Deputy Managing Director Rob White has said the power unit manufacturer has made progress this week but that the company is “not back on schedule”.

Speaking as the second pre-season test in Bahrain came to a close – a four-day spell in which Renault-powered teams continued to suffer – White admitted there had been more setbacks but insisted that progress has been made.

“We have had some setbacks, but we have definitely made progress and have taken several steps forward,” he said. “The changes have improved the PU behaviour in the car and we are have accumulated valuable mileage. There have been stoppages, on our side and on the chassis side as well, but we have ironed out some important faults and allowed the teams to gain crucial experience of the car as a whole.

“We have seen that minor incidents can cause downtime that is difficult or impossible to recover,” he added. “In particular, we lost more time than anticipated on the final day. While we are not at the level of operation and performance we would want to be, we have a more solid basis to work from, and we are moving in the right direction.”

He admitted, however, that Renault’s programme is not back on schedule.

“We have made some good headway, in terms of PU performance and operation in the car. We are now in a situation we could have accepted mid-Jerez. We have solved some problems and revealed some others,” he said.

“We are not back on schedule but we are moving in the right direction – the running we have done is very valuable. The challenge is to improve the rate of progress, because the gap to where we wanted to be at this stage remains substantial.

“We are some weeks behind where we wanted to be, and we acknowledge it will take time to unlock the full performance of the PU,” he added. “We are working hard to get there and we are determined to succeed. We remain confident in the PU and its sub systems, we are just not at the level of operation and performance we want to be. The immaturity of the PU combined with the time lost to incidents, means the chassis work to prepare for the season is also behind schedule. From this point on we must pursue and accelerate an upward curve.”

Commenting on the fixes implemented this week in Bahrain, White said: “We made a number of specification changes to the Energy Store (battery), involving modified hardware, requiring some gymnastics in engineering, procurement, assembly and logistics.

“We also introduced two levels of PU control system software updates; the first being effectively what would have been a decent starting point for Jerez. It eliminated some bugs that allowed us to make mapping and calibration corrections, which subsequently allowed us to operate the cars in a more robust way to gather mileage.

“The second layer of software changes had more functionality to allow a greater authority to the control systems, giving better performance and driveability, and a larger degree of Power Unit systems integration. All the cars started on the first route and all four cars migrated to the second solution as we gathered mileage.”

White concluded by saying that the team in Viry is working “night and day’ to cure the ailments afflicting its power unit, especially with the homologation deadline looming.

“We run again in Bahrain at the end of next week,” he said. “The homologation deadline is looming, the race engines for Melbourne are in the early stages of build. There is a huge amount of work in progress.

“The Viry team is working night and day to solve our problems. We now have a list of issues from this test we will address. There are of course priority calls to sort out the most important ones from the background noise, but we will come back stronger at the next test and continue to learn about the Power Unit and prepare for Melbourne.”

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266 Comments
  1. Gaz Boy says:

    Rob White and Renault – master of understatement!
    However, I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt and say that Adrian and Bull have been complicit in the under performance just as much as Paris. I’m not an expert in electrical engineering, but even I know that electrical motors produce a huge amount of thermal discharge – just look at the back of your monitor/TV and all the cooling slats. Surely Adrian and Bull most of known that as well?
    I don’t know specifically what Lotus problems are, but I guess thermal discharge problems may be related to overly tight packaging just like Bull.
    Caterham seem to have run plenty of miles without troubles so my theory that Bull and Lotus problems are not 100% Renault’s fault may have some credibility.
    Whatever, Bull, Lotus and Renault have got plenty to resolve.

    1. David Rd says:

      Well I’m an electrical engineer and you’re right anything handling this much electrical power 120kW, is bound to get very hot.

      Let’s say they have a 95% efficiency in the transformers, batteries, motors, etc, that still leaves 6kW that have to be disposed of, to give you an idea this equates to nearly 1500 calories per second every time the ERS is on.

      If they use it for 33 seconds a lap and you had the heat from the petrol engine on top of that it’s quite an achievement to make them run for a race distance without any problems.

      1. aveli says:

        why do they use the word power to describe energy? electrical energy is stored in the battery and used to propel the car when needed. is it the rate of use of this energy that is described as power or the rate of storing of the energy? am confused!

      2. David Rd says:

        I wrote a lengthy explanation but it seems it didn’t post, so just in case here’s the short version: yes power is the rate of both charge and discharge of the battery.
        It goes both ways as does energy, from electrical (more/less Volts and Amps) to kinetic (more/less speed) several times per lap.

        Rules say 160hp for 33 seconds max to accelerate the car and 80hp for 33sec max to slow it down.

      3. aveli says:

        if power is the rate of consumption of energy and energy is what they store and use, why don’t they just call it energy. money goes in and out of my bank account and it has never been referred to as rate of earning or rate of spending.
        power is the wrong word to use unless they want to describe the rate of consumption or rate of generation. after all, the rate is not always the same.

      4. David Rd says:

        Yes you’re right, in fact they should call it “battery charge” from 0 to 100% and that would be from 0 to 4000 kJ.

        But for regular people is easier to understand “160hp for 33 seconds” than “4000kJ at a max rate of 120 kJ per second”.

        Also there’s rumours that FOM will have a new set of live graphics that will give plenty of info on state of ERS and fuel. Can’t wait!

      5. aveli says:

        i wish they checked with their qualified staff before introducing new names. f1 is mean to be at the cutting edge of technology and should come across as that, scientifically correct.

      6. Gaz Boy says:

        David, thanks for your insight. I remember as a kid being told that with electrical items such as Televisions, CD Players and PC’s to keep them well ventilated and with plenty of room to breathe because they generate a lot of thermal discharge, and that heat needs to escape for an electrical unit to operate efficiently and safely.
        That’s a point, when petrol/diesel motors overheat they loose efficiency and therefore loose power. I would assume that this is the same for electrical motors – an overheating battery could cause a significant power/torque loss for a car.
        If that is the case, Bull, Lotus and Regie are potentially in a lot of trouble in the swampy jungle humidity of Malaysia and the scorching desert and sandy air of Bahrain.

      7. ptrfjd says:

        Gaz Boy, I think you don’t understand.

        Heating IS NOT because it’s electrical, it’s because you convert one energy into the other.

        Internal combustion engine converts thermal energy into mechanical, and you have 2/3 energy loss (2/3 of energy goes as a heat to air). Electrical motor converts electrical energy into mechanical energy with only about 5% loss.

        Battery converts chemical energy into electrical, and than motor converts electrical energy to mechanical energy.

        And what happens if you use software to control the process of conversion? It’s a very complex system to implement.

      8. Gaz Boy says:

        RE PTRFJD: I admit I’m not an electrical engineer yes, but my point is a combination of the thermal discharge from the turbo petrol engine and the batteries has to escape otherwise you will have major overheating issues and potentially a fire.
        I posted below that if you put a towel/blanket over the cooling slats of your TV/Monitor/Stereo it will overheat and potentially cause a fire because the thermal discharge from the unit can’t escape.
        I guess that’s Red Bull’s problems at the moment.

      9. Richard says:

        In the old days you could dry your towel on the back of the monitor after you’d been to the gym at lunchtime

    2. Iain:R8 says:

      Gaz Boy:”I’m not an expert in electrical engineering, but even I know that electrical motors produce a huge amount of thermal discharge – just look at the back of your monitor/TV and all the cooling slats”

      Oooheee. I guess you knew Baird. ;)

      http://tinyurl.com/l299fkx

      Just teasing!

      1. Gaz Boy says:

        Ha ha! On a serious note, apparently electrical engineering is not Adrian’s strong point.

      2. aveli says:

        ask adrien to forget about weight saving and use thicker wires because they don’t heat up so much.

    3. Richard says:

      I suspect it is the energy store where the overheat problems occur because it is a natural function of a battery when it is charged it produces heat as a by product. The fact that these batteries are charged and discharged at an alarming rate at the sort of capacity we are talking about then one realised that one might need the proverbial gale flowing through the unit with dissipation fins the size whale fins. A tightly package unit simply is not going to work, and it is an area where Mr.Newey’s prowess at aerodynamics has had a negative effect on the power plant. That’s why Red Bull’s problem’s are amongst the worst.

    4. ptrfjd says:

      Interesting observation. But untrue. Monitors don’t have electrical motors, as far as I know. Electrical motors don’t produce a huge amount of thermal discharge, at least not as internal combustion engines. Electrical motor is one of the most efficient machine and that means very low energy converted to heat. But batteries could overheat.

    5. Datruthertz says:

      but even I know that electrical motors produce a huge amount of thermal discharge – just look at the back of your monitor/TV and all the cooling slats….

      Have you got a lot of electrical motors in the back of your monitor? :-)

      1. Gaz Boy says:

        Ha ha! No, but if you put a towel over the cooling slats of a TV/Monitor it will overheat – and possibly catch fire.
        I suspect that is Red Bull’s problem – the thermal discharge can’t escape……..

      2. NickH says:

        Haha.. Mine is hamster powered

      3. F1Cat says:

        Toroidal transformer power units and motors are different.. but not very!
        looms of copper wire along with a huge battery is like cotton and fire next to each other.
        Plus don’t keep a huge capacitor in between and Webber knows any :-)

    6. Bradley says:

      The main engine produces a lot more power, a lot less efficiently, than the electrical systems. So while there’s certainly heat coming from everything, the heat from the electrics is pretty small compared to that from the combustion engine.

  2. Andy says:

    What I don’t understand is how these problems didn’t come to light prior to Jerez. Surely they had a test rig that fully simulated the energy recovery side.
    It sounds as though they ran the engine on the dyno and relied on their kers knowledge to see them through the energy recovery side.

    No doubt they will catch up, it could be a very good package once they sort out the problems.

    1. BlueRacer says:

      I have the same question.
      It would be nice if James Allen could provide us an insight of why these troubles weren’t identified earlier on test rigs.

      If I remember correctly, during the first Jerez test, sometimes Renault teams did not even exit the garage. It seemed that even just putting the engine on the chassis was enough to discover a problem – without even running on the track (as if they had never even assembled the whole car).

      1. James Allen says:

        For example- I was told that there was a shaft in one of the MGUs that had not managed more than 100kms on test rig before Jerez,

        Question is – did they share this information with their customers?

      2. Andy says:

        Red Bull will be hoping that they sort their problems out a bit quicker than they did with the alternator!

      3. Rob T says:

        …DNF for every Renault powered car until they hit Europe in May, when maybe Lotus will limp to the line, several laps down on the Merc powered teams. Not sure where Ferrari are but Merc engines are looking the best.

        I wonder if Red Bull will be talking seriously with Honda for 2015??? I can’t see Ferrari or Mercedes agreeing to an engine deal with RBR

        Looks like we’re heading back to the late 60s and 70s when if you didn’t have for Ford DFV you didn’t win!

      4. Toni says:

        I am starting to think that Ferrari and Merc had real integrated development btw chassis and engine development.

        Renault decided they’d do it on their own and their teams would just bolt it on…
        What I am amazed is how RB has let this happen… (maybe they didn’t have a chance… but I find it real weird…).

        You can’t test for real, but you can rig it all up and simulate “almost” as real… :|

        Guess at least for the start of the year they are gona pay big time for this lack of proper integration.

      5. Limelee says:

        @Toni. You can test the engines, it’s the chassis you can’t test. You’ll see the engine technology used in F1 already being integrated into Ferrari, Mercedes and Mclaren road cars. It’s one thing being reliable at a track driving no more than 310Km at a time with a hundred engineers monitoring your progress, it’s quite another getting that technology to leave your factory and be fine 10,000 miles later. The Ferrari engine was bolted into and tested in a LaFerrari, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the new F1 engine had been trialled in a merc or a McLaren along the way

        Red Bull have adopted a strategy in recent years whereby they will take everything way past the limit and then scale back to a point were it works or is legal, so you can be right in the limit and I think that’s what we are seeing in their car development for the RB10. But the lack if integration causes two problems. Firstly, Renault are building an engine for an environment that they didn’t know the specs for when the engine was built. Secondly, The teams have all designed an environment based upon a spec sheet, without having a working engine to develop with.

        A lot of the problems seem quite technical in nature, software integration etc, and it appears so many issues are being created by integrating the engine systems with the other car management systems, and even if the engine works, I imagine it will lack some of te functionality afforded to the other teams who have no doubt been developing the software and operating systems as one single entity, rather than two that will just glue together.

    2. Richard says:

      On dyno rigs engines have ruddy great fans to aid cooling because the unit is static. It’s a whole different ball game in a tightly package race car.

      1. Andy says:

        That’s true, but you would expect them to simulate the ‘in car’ conditions, especially considering the amount of heat that’s going to be generated.

      2. ptrfjd says:

        How would you simulate braking by the driver? And how would they know how much of airflow would be assigned to cooling? It depends on the team.

      3. Richard says:

        Simulation is one thing, reality is another. People tend to think of heat in terms of temperature, but more importantly it’s the amount of heat energy that is most lightly the problem giving rise to heat soak, and starkly elevated temperatures as a consequence.

      4. Richard says:

        Of course we don’t actually know what the cooling systems are like. For example they might be sophisticated cooled and pressurised so because we are remote from the reality we are just guessing what the problems are.

      5. Toni says:

        Yes, but if you are doing it right you share the cooling requirements with the chassis developers, you agree on a number (ballpark even) for the cooling and THEN, you run your dyno tests to those specs…

        MAN, I never developed engines and I know this much is true… (I am an engineer and properly trained on lots of mechanical stuff :P + some good sense (notice, not common sense, good sense :P) is never a nuisance…).

      6. Richard says:

        You’ve not tried it in a car until you’vegot in car and simulations can be way off the mark because they are often deficient in some respect. See my other response.

    3. Andrewinwork says:

      I guess that’s where the advantages of making a PSU for an actual car with feedback as it’s progressing as opposed to Renault who had to make a PSU for teams to incorporate as they could. A sort of “fits where it touches” solution

  3. Blackmamba says:

    Why do these huge corporations send out the poor English man into the firing line when things are falling apart. I felt sorry for Paul Hembry when Pirelli did it to him when those tyres were bursting like it was the 4th of July. At least they get paid the big bucks one would hope.

    1. Peter Scandlyn says:

      That’s what they get paid the big bucks for. Not all get on the F1 gig and see the world.

    2. Gaz Boy says:

      Or tyres bursting like April 30th 1975, the Fall of Saigon eh!
      What about a Vietnam GP? Around the streets of Saigon? When Top Gear visited it, Jezza, James and Richard loved the place, even if the traffic was a bit mental, but I’m sure the local government could organise a F1 race no problem.
      Perhaps Mr E, court case pending, has thought about it already?

    3. David in Sydney says:

      That’s what they get paid the big bucks for…

    4. Richard says:

      When the **** hits the fan, it’s the rep that takes the flack, but yes I expect Mr. Hembrey salary is quite respectable.

  4. James says:

    One can only empathize. Working on heavy equipment 11 hours a day 6 days a week has got nothing on these guys.

  5. goferet says:

    I applaud Renault for their efforts in trying to rectify the problems they’re facing for it can’t be easy trying to work with the world press breathing down your neck.

    Unfortunately for Renault not only is F1 a very complex sport but these new engines are twice as complex so quick fixes are out of the question and hence you find you’re in a situation wereby you’re chasing your tail for the rest of the season.

    As for the Renault powered teams such as Red Bull, Lotus and Torro Rosso, surely they should get back some of their money considering they’re likely to lose out on construction’s money as a result of a third party.

    Anyway maybe this whole situation is just a case of the Universe balancing itself for Renault have had good success with Red Bull the past 4 years and so it’s time for someone else to enjoy the sun.

    1. Sebee says:

      Double edged sword. Were RBR not successful and got paid plenty last 5 years?

      This is no time to point fingers. Time to put that team magic with partners together and make it happen.

      If RBR win WDC this year all of you better recognize. I’ve said it over and over again. It is way harder to put a winning streak together than to win one year. Last 4 years you saw an amazing RBR effort.

      1. goferet says:

        @ Sebee

        For certain it’s way harder defending your titles because as always it’s easier being the hunter than the hunted.

      2. NickH says:

        You should recognise Red Bull aren’t going to win the WDC this year. Mercedes have made a silver rocketship

      3. Timmay says:

        One good car every 5 years – not bad I guess…

      4. Sebee says:

        I recognized this when I said RBR will push further to seal 2013 WDCs.

        It’s just a shame for that streak to end this way. I would much rather see RBR beaten at it’s best, than a wounded RBR unable to challenge.

      5. NickH says:

        @Timmay. Mercedes tried to run on a budget when Schumacher came back for a few years, a comparable budget to midfield teams. However they realised this was useless because Red Bull’s philosophy is ‘keep spending until you win’. Now we are seeing what Mercedes is really capable of now that it’s applying it’s full attention and resources into F1.

    2. deancassady says:

      As usual, worthy comment.
      However… getting their money back?!?
      How much did Renault benefit financially from the huge, HUGE!!! success of Red Bull?
      Look at the past ten , twenty years, and see what manufacturers have done in terms of constructors and drivers championships?
      You’re good at that stuff.
      The long term trend suggests that Renault will come up with the WCC power in this new formula, non?
      I’m interested in your feedback.

      1. goferet says:

        @ deancassady

        You’re right mate, the Renault engines have had pretty good success over the years so am quite confident it won’t be long before they get their ducks in a roll.

      2. NickH says:

        They have downsized their engine department last year or the year before, Pat Symonds said so. Not the wisest choice considering the challenges they are facing.

      3. Sebee says:

        At the same time, Mercedes has to see ROI to stay in F1. It would be in everyone’s interest to have Mercedes deliver a WDC. Just sayin’.

      4. deancassady says:

        So that’s it, what really determines who wins or not, the need to keep a team in the championship?
        So all of this ‘competition’ developing cars and engines, and ‘trying our best’, and whatnot, that’s just show, and what really is determining what happens is return on investment of a major manufacturer needing to ‘get there’s’?

        Cynical, but the facts unfortunately support this assertion.

    3. deancassady says:

      There in, your last point, is consistent with the long term trend; as if by design!?!

      1. Sebee says:

        Regarding you reply above Dean, back when Toyota, Honda, BMW, Mercedes, Renault, Cosworth, etc. were on the very rich grid, it wasn’t that important to lose an engine manufacturer. They came, they went, Ferrari and Schumi could do a 5 year run. F1 didn’t have to sell these manufacturers. F1 sold itself.

        Today, after financial crash, we can clearly see the easy sale days for F1 have ended. F1 needs to sell itself more than ever. It’s doing this via rules applied to the sport to attract new fans, and via measures that perhaps ensure everyone gets a slice of the pie. By everyone, I mean engine manufacturers, not really individual teams.

        Let’s be honest, with 3 engines on the grid, F1 can’t exactly afford to lose an engine partner. And make no mistake about it, Honda coming in 2015 is a window of opportunity for someone to depart without feeling too badly about it.

        Mercedes and F1 have a long time partnership. But things are a bit bad for F1 in Gemany now, and pretty much every car maker who’s pulled out of the sport has done so a few years after buying their own team. So I think Mercedes is clearly at the biggest risk of leaving if ROI is not justified. They look at VW and BMW, and they seem to be rolling in profits without being in F1 at all. That also has to make you think. BMW in perticular has been on a profitability tear since leaving F1. Don’t think Mercedes board is not aware of this little fact.

    4. James Clayton says:

      “I applaud Renault for their efforts in trying to rectify the problems they’re facing”

      Um what else did you expect them to do?

      1. goferet says:

        @ James Clayton

        Lol

    5. Kimi4WDC says:

      I think not many are more qualified than Renault to talk about the points you trying to bring across.

  6. Tealeaf says:

    Just looking at these comments suggests they’re in deep trouble and its now just a struggle to actually finish the race for most Renault powered cars, on top of all that they’re at least 150hp down on Mercedes and its a complete farce they’re trying to make out everything is under control considering today the Redbull running is barely better than Jerez, I suppose its what the Vettel haters wanted but this is not the way, Seb won’t win the title but then whoever wins it won’t actually have beaten him, its robbed the sport of a champion actually defending his title, and with the engine freeze coming in soon will Renault be just running a power unit 150 down on Mercedes for the whole season? If I was Caterham I’d just pull out of F1 now and not pay for these dud units, Fernandes saod he’ll pull the plugs if performance don’t improve and with the worst car and power units just save some cash and give up now.

    1. Alexis says:

      Won’t have beaten him? A lot of world champions have been made by the previous winner having a poor car. Mansell in 92, Hill in 96, Villeneuve in 97, even Hamilton in 09.

      1. Witan says:

        Not to mention Schumacher of course, whose Ferrari package was dominant in several of his championships. And when it wasn’t he wasn’t.

        Racing is not always the fastest winning. Its much more complex than that. RedBull have had a great period of winning with a dominant designer producing a dominant package.

        Mind you the RedBull Renault KERS 2013 might have been seen as a forewarning of PU 2014?

      2. Anil Parmar says:

        I dunno..in 2002 and 2004 he had cars capable of dominating but that wasn’t the case in 2001 and 2003 (not to mention 2000, 94 and 95).

        But yes, it’s such a shame we didn’t see Kimi vs Alonso vs Schumi in 2005 :(

    2. Ross Dixon says:

      They are only 150hp down to make sure the cars stay on track as long as possible. It’s a setting they have ATM. I’m pretty sure they are not 150hp down when able to run fully

      1. Cliff says:

        Isn’t that the point, they don’t appear to be able to ‘run with the pack’

      2. Tealeaf says:

        Well I hope you’re right but from what I can see they can’t can’t even be reliable and consistent running with the power “turned down”.

    3. Jean-Christophe says:

      The engine is part of the package. Did Vettel rob the sport by enjoying a far superior car?
      Did he steal anyone when he was lapping 2 seconds faster than anyone else in Singapore or when the Bulls lapped everyone in Hungary? Aerodynamics had more importance. Now it’s the engine. The rules are the same for everyone.

      1. RodgerT says:

        When did the Red Bulls lap everyone in Hungary?
        They’ve only won it once and that was only by a little under 18 seconds.

      2. Tealeaf says:

        Exactly, hardly dominant there…

    4. Gaz Boy says:

      Tealeaf, remember I posted a comment that the Merc V6 had a potential 80 BHP/80 lb ft of torque advantage over the Regie? Seems like I was wrong: it could an even bigger advantage!
      Renault, Lotus and Bull are going to burn a lot of midnight oil in the next few months………..

      1. Tealeaf says:

        Yeah I remember, and I said it was going to be 100+hp advantage it seems like Renault needs to stop lying about everything under control and admit they’ve messed up big time.

    5. Optimaximal says:

      What, like when Hill couldn’t defend his title because Williams dropped him, when Villeneuve couldn’t defend his title because Williams lost Adrian Newey and works Renault support and when Hamilton couldn’t defend his title because his ’09 car was rubbish?

      These things happen.

      1. Anil Parmar says:

        Or when Schumacher couldn’t fight Alonso and Kimi in 2005 as the Bridgestone tyres weren’t up to it!

      2. Tealeaf says:

        Yes I agree the tyres in 2005 stemmed Schumacher’s title defence, also Raikkonen’s reliability gifted the title to Alonso, who in my opinion is almost as overrated as Hamilton, are them 2 really better than the likes of Button, Webber or Rosberg? Hardly.

      3. H.Guderian says:

        @Tealeaf

        Don’t panic.

        Since VET is not “overrated” (he is a true genius) he will manage to win nine races in a row and grab the title. Even with a bad car.

        You can trust me. Seriously.

      4. Tealeaf says:

        Trust me sarcasm is all well and good truly but the fact remains even if Hamilton loses to Rosberg this year he will still be considered the best driver ever, and surely he is, or is he? so much excuses have been made in recent years who knows what is what???

      5. H.Guderian (ALO fan) says:

        @Tealeaf
        I’m an ALO (not HAM) fan.

      6. Dazzler says:

        There are fans around who do believe that SV is that much quicker and more complete than the all of the other drivers.

        1 to 2 seconds per lap quicker.Some kind of genius. And of course if anyone dares question this they are dismissed as biased British media Hamilton fanboys.

        I do believe that Renualt will iron out the issues before Melbourne, they wanted this engine formula, they will reap what they sow. And even if the RB10 is that much slower than its rivals by that logic then SV’s superior abilty and legendary genius will render that neutral and he will still win 8 or 9 races this year.

        After all Alonso and Hamilton are overrated arent they ?

      7. Tealeaf says:

        In actual fact Alonso and Hamilton are overrated, Alonso hasn’t got enough raw speed to be a true great whilst Hamilton is just not a complete driver, even his hardcore die hard fans are worried an average driver like Rosberg will likely give him alot of trouble, the same Rosberg that also hasn’t got the speed of F1 greats when considering he is slower than Webber. Say what you like about Vettel’s Redbulls in recent years but performances like Singapore last year was freak of nature, sure the car was probably the best but not by that much as Webber wouldn’t even be on the podium on pace, but it was a freak of nature performance that rarely happens in F1, be deluded and not credit Vettel for these performances if you want but its deluded to think Hamilton is a better driver than Vettel.

      8. Richard says:

        Tealeaf: The only reason Vettel has had such success is because of Adrian Newey design team came up with the goods just at the right time. In the same team Alonso would eat him alive.

      9. Dazzler says:

        Vettel is an above average driver who has made the most of having unconditional No1
        status within his team and a car which flatters him. He is a good champion but thats
        all. His car performs mostly in clear air and by staying away from DRS zones.Not entertaining
        viewing at all.

        Alonso won two titles when Schumacher had the best car and was in his prime. He did it
        by playing averages and percentages but it was quite an achievement and gives his titles
        value. He also took the 4th best car last year and finished 2nd in the championship.

        I agree that Hamilton is not a complete driver, but he has natural speed and a talent for
        overtaking. He gets a lot of stick for perceived arrogance from fans in this country
        but the reason that he polarises opinion goes deeper than that. There are other drivers
        who are far more arrogant than he is, with a worse sense of entitlement.

        A couple of Vettel’s performances have been out of this world but given parity other drivers
        can beat him and produce similar displays. When drivers give up in Q3 and dont even try
        to challenge him it can make Vettel seem like a genius. But if your car is 0.4 to 0.7 per lap
        Slower in clear air while yours chews it tyres up you have little to fight with.

        2014 will see a change in the order and will give other drivers an opportunity to shine,
        then we will truly find out just how good Sebastian Vettel really is.

        Personally I think SV will drive well and be there or thereabouts. But I also believe that
        Grosjean, Raikkonen, Alonso, Hamilton, Button and Rosberg will have the tools to complete.

        Remember that Jenson Button won a title by making the most of what he had when he had it.

        Richard is right Alonso would beat Vettel in the same car.

    6. Blackmamba says:

      My God, the world of F1 does not revolve around Vettelm. Rule changes were also introduced in 2009 and McLaren & Ferrari were caught out as they were fighting for the championship the previous year. They both produced very bad cars which allowed Brawn and RedBull to come to the fore. These cycles happen in F1 and I hope you did not actually think that Vettel would win every championship until he retires. They also brought out new tyre rules which ended Ferrari’s dominance but a significant point however is tfat these new rules were first proposed in 2010 BEFORE Redbull dominance and initially meant for 2013. There is NO CONSPIRACY against RedBull.

    7. Toni says:

      where did you get the at least 150bhp figure? or just guessing without much knowledge?

      posted top speeds point to 50-80 bhp difference, 150 is way too much… (or all Ren teams are running massive downforce :P ;)

      1. NickH says:

        It’s around 150 because they’re not running the ERS which is about 150-160

      2. 2Phat says:

        There’s a cubic relationship between speed and power. Taking the figures in post 7 and making some assumptions a 150bhp difference seems about right. There’s loads of variables, but it does seem like the Renaults are running at a very reduced output.

      3. Toni says:

        Yes, there is, but calculate drag for an F1 car and 305 to 330 does not take 150bhp… (besides, that’s about the full output of ERS… i give you they are in reduced output, but ~50%, no way its 10-20%).

      4. 2Phat says:

        Why do you need to calculate drag? If you know how much power is needed to do 330kmph (let’s assume 750bhp) it’s simple to calculate how much power you need to do 305kmph (592bhp). Now obviously I’ve made countless assumptions and there’s a thousand things that don’t follow a cubic relationship so this is a gross over-simplification, but 100-150bhp is clearly in the right ball-park.

    8. BW says:

      It’s fairly easy to recover these 150 hp (and at least 20 km/h of pure speed) once they get ERS working properly.

    9. Richard says:

      Come the first race the Renault powered teams will be in a better position, not a race winning position, but at least they will be up and running, and they will improve as things progress. Red Bull have succeeded because they have been supreme in aerodynamics, but things have changed now the emphasis is on powertrain reliability, an area where Red Bull are less informed, indeed Mr.Newey’s tightly packaging has cost them reliability to some extent. There can be only two reasons why the PU’s are down on power. One is that they are not revolvingto maximum, but more likely they are not using the ERS to avoid the battery overheat situation. So sort the cooling out properly and they are up and running. Renault of course have had other problems getting the various systems to work effectively together, but they will get there in due course. As for drivers defending their championship, it they don’t have the car they can hardly do it, and every champion that’s ever been has had thet problem, it’s nothing new. Vettel has had a good run but things have changed.

    10. David in Sydney says:

      So, Fernandes is not the smartest guy in the room after all.

    11. Jon Sandor says:

      “Seb won’t win the title but then whoever wins it won’t actually have beaten him…”

      In the same way that “Seb” hasn’t actually beaten Alonso, Hamilton, Raikkonen et al, given the consistent car advantage he had 2010-2013? You CANNOT have it both ways.

      “…its robbed the sport of a champion actually defending his title…”

      Yeah? Were you just as bothered by Senna/McLaren 1992, Hill/Arrows 1997, Schumacher/Ferrari/Bridgestone 2005 and Hamilton/McLaren 2009 to name but a few?

      Did Mansell, Villeneuve, Alonso and Button not “beat” Senna, Hill, Shcumacher and Hamilton?

      This kind of thing is nothing new in F1. Methinks you’re talking absolute rot and you’re only bothered at the thought of your reason for watching F1 – Vettel – not winning anymore. It’s pathetic.

      1. Mario says:

        I Couldn’t have said it better!.

    12. Random 79 says:

      Agreed.

      I thinks it’s safe to say many wanted to see the other teams close the gap and take on Red Bull pound for pound, not have Red Bull hobbled by a dodgy power unit.

      As for Tony, Caterham seem to have actually been able to do a decent amount of running, so I seriously think that purely through attrition they might actually be able to beat RBR themselves.

      What’s that? Yes, I did indeed just see a pig fly past my window :)

      1. Gaz Boy says:

        And the ravens leaving the towers…….

      2. Random 79 says:

        I had no idea what you were talking about, but after a bit of Google / Wikipedia I have now learned something new :)

      3. Gaz Boy says:

        Thanks Random.
        Actually on a regal note, Liz and Phil attended the very first world championship grand prix at Silverstone in May 1950 although at the time she was not queen.
        I wonder if Liz and Phil watch F1 races live?

      4. Clarks4WheelDrift says:

        >I wonder if Liz and Phil watch F1 races live?

        Probably every other race, Sky wouldn’t be allowed to stick a sat dish on the side of Buck Palace. Listed building n all that ;)

        Imagine it,
        “Well Queenie, what about this upstart young jerry?”,
        “Not bad Philip, but not a patch on Fangio or Sir Stirling. And one does miss the growl of a front engine V12.”

      5. Gaz Boy says:

        Ha ha!
        Being serious, I think Liz and Phil are big supporters of the British (and commonwealth) F1 industry – think of all the F1 personalities over the years who have been knighted or being given the OBE/CBE.
        She must also be proud that in her reign – and realm – her little country has produced more F1 champions than any other nation, not to mention most of the Formula 1 industry is based just half an hour’s drive or so from her Windsor home. Considering the British motor sport industry turns over at least £6 billion a year, I bet good old Liz and Phil are very proud of that.
        And of course every time Jenson or Lewis win a race Liz gets to hear a song dedicated to her!

      6. NickH says:

        Sour grapes. I think it’s fair to say they’ve done a pretty bad job themselves.. Not just Renault. Newey way too ambitious with the rear of the car. Why did they continue developing their car at the end of last season the when everyone had given up and shifted work to 2014?? Especially as they had both championships sewn up ridiculously early.

      7. Tyemz says:

        A pig with Wiings? what :-O

      8. Random 79 says:

        I never said it had wings, I just said it was flying…a catapult may have been involved ;)

      9. Richard says:

        Hobbled by inefficient powertrain oe inefficient aero. – What’s the difference? Oh of course Vettel! Well it will give him the opportunity to show what he can do without a race winning car won’t it!

      10. Tealeaf says:

        Haha yeah Caterham could beat Redbull eh :D but the whole point is many complain Redbull had a big ‘advantage’ like last year’s singapore but in actual fact the car was beatable as Rosberg out qualified Webber and even in the race Webber never would have been right behind his team mate, but the point is this year Vettel has no chance of qualifying close to the Mercedes and is effectively in a different Formula, if RBR and Mercedes switched places during these tests you can bet most of the Hamilton fans jumping up and down dissing Formula 1 and try to discredit the new engines, but still the season hasn’t started yet.

      11. Random 79 says:

        Could be a bit of truth to that :)

      12. Peter says:

        Be interesting to see if Vettle is the best of the rest then – or if he is beaten by some of the other Renault teams.
        My guess is that he will fail in what is not the best car anymore.

      13. Tealeaf says:

        Peter that will depend on the reliability of the car, I’m sure Grosjean will give a good crack in beating Vettel but then you put in a statement where Seb is likely to be a loser but you fail to mention how about Hamilton being beaten by Mercedes powered drivers like Button and Rosberg quite often in recent years, can’t say one thing but dismiss a similar situation with your golden boy.

      14. Richard says:

        Tealeaf: Vettel won’t do any good this year because he hasn’t got Newey’s exhaust driven back end to help him around the bends. Rosberg is actually a very good fast driver easily capable of beating Vettel in equal machinery.

      15. Rich C says:

        btw, pigs *will fly if you get them going fast enough.

      16. Random 79 says:

        That’s what the catapult was for ;)

    13. jake says:

      “Seb won’t win the title but then whoever wins it won’t actually have beaten him”
      I beg to differ. The championship is a team event, all parts that make up the team have to perform in order to win. Clearly there are parts of the Red Bull team that have failed to deliver at this time. You can blame Renault if it makes you feel better, but they are an integral part of the Red Bull title challenge and therefore part of the team. Red Bull and their engine supplier have had the same time as everybody else to develop their package the fact that it is plagued with technical issues and reliability problems is their own making.
      This situation is no different to last year when Red Bull were clearly dominant. The Red Bull fans phrase of choice I believe was “It is up to the other teams to improve their performance in order to compete with the Bulls.

      If Red Bull do not win then that is because they were beaten by a team that did a better job.

      1. Richard says:

        Well said, spot on!

    14. Datruthertz says:

      Seb won’t win the title but then whoever wins it won’t actually have beaten him….

      You appear to be quite bitter about the apparent disadvantage that RBR are currently experiencing. Yet, when Vettel has been the beneficiary of a superior car, you have found that to be quite acceptable. How does that work? Double standards?
      Still, on a brighter note, you won’t need to get your knickers in a twist about the English speaking media not giving Vettel the credit you believe he deserves. Every cloud as they say 8-)

    15. TGS says:

      Yeah I’d like more details on what the engine freeze means too. Does this mean they can’t fix their problems during the season?

    16. NickH says:

      SOUR GRAPES. What about Vettel enjoying a massive car advantage? Didn’t mind that did you

  7. Juzh says:

    SPEED TRAP:
    Alonso; 336,4 km/h,
    Kevin Magnussen: 330,2 km/h
    Felipe Massa: 327,2 km/h.


    renault PU:
    Jean-Eric Vergne: 308,5 km/h
    Sebastian Vettel: 301,6 km/h
    Kamui Kobayashi: 301,5 km/h

    1. Alexis says:

      Brilliant! Got a bit tired of the V8′s struggling to even break 200!

    2. Chuck 32 says:

      Thank you for this information. Was the source reliable? Very interesting if accurate, suggest Renault is running without full output from the ERS.

      1. Juzh says:

        It’s from AMUS, so yes, it’s reliable.

    3. avl0 says:

      It’s interesting that ferrari have been consistently fastest in the speed traps but have been nowhere relatively speaking on laptimes.

      Suggests first of all that either they’re either running closer to max power or are producing more power than the merc engines.

      And secondly suggests that they may be lacking quite badly in rear downforce, which seems likely considering a lot of journos have been saying it looks like quite a handful to drive compared to mc/merc.

      Maybe they’ll bring an amazing aero package next week, but maybe this is already going to be a championship solely between merc and mc (i assume fi and williams dont have the resources needed to develop fast enough throughout a whole season to win).

      1. Joel says:

        Or may be less downforce and therefore less drag.

      2. Clarks4WheelDrift says:

        Could be rear downforce, could also be how skittish their car applies it’s battery boosts or turbo torque. Then again Ferrari were about the best at this off the line last year.

        It’s quite scary to think a team could perhaps have a bit better engine, bit better downforce, but not as good a software programmer to get it working so are slightly slower!

      3. Kimi4WDC says:

        Ferrari were pretty fast in all sectors individually, but for some reason choose not do so for whole duration of the lap.

      4. Juzh says:

        Alonso was in slipstream at the time this top speed was measured. Other’s weren’t.

    4. max says:

      Where did you get those figures from?

    5. Alec Tronnick says:

      Wow!

  8. Grant H says:

    PANIC time!!! With one week to go before the engine design freeze i think these guys are up the creek!!! Assume Getting change based on performance (or lack of) is going to be hard especially as would be subject to peer review

    I may put a cheeky fiver on chilton lapping vettel ha

    1. Richard says:

      It’s not the end of the world. They will be allowed to make the unit reliable. They simply have to apply for changes.

    2. DB says:

      If only Vettel would last long enough to get lapped…

    3. j says:

      If you look back at the V8s Renault was down on HP at the beginning but got it all back after the freeze with “reliability” changes. No doubt Merc and Ferrari did too. Didn’t take long for them to all be evened up in power.

      1. Tealeaf says:

        Renault down on power in the beginning of the V8′s? did you watch the first race at Bahrain 2006? who won?

      2. Richard says:

        More to a race car than power. This year because they have more torque they will accelerate faster a fact nobody seems to be taking into consideration.

      3. Spinodontosaurus says:

        As Tealeaf alluded to, Renault were not weak at the start of the V8 era – in fact they were regularly at the sharp end of the speed trap figures.
        From my understanding, the rev limit introduced for 2007 harmed Renault more than most, and then unlike the other manufacturers they took the engine freeze seriously and didn’t pursue any further power – sorry, ‘reliability’ upgrades – and so got left in the dust.
        They were allowed to catch up some of the deficit for 2009 though.

  9. Random 79 says:

    PU – The perfect way to describe a Renault Power Unit…or is that too harsh?

    1. Gaz Boy says:

      Random, aren’t phonetics wonderful eh? I remember when ING sponsored the 2007 Australian grand prix, and can recall seeing a photo of one of the banners at Melbourne which said: “F1 ING Australian grand prix 2007.” I remember thinking, blimey, that’s a bit strong – until I read it properly…………..

      1. Random 79 says:

        And only in Australia could you get away with it ;)

      2. Gaz Boy says:

        I can imagine Daniel having a banner made for him in Melbourne reading: “F1 ING Red Bull-Renault turbo”………….
        I bet he’s probably thinking that already……………keep smiling Dan!

      3. Random 79 says:

        He might be thinking that, I think it would take a miracle to stop Dan smiling :)

      4. Random 79 says:

        Should have been “,but I think”.

        Never-mind…

    2. GWD says:

      Well, considering RB have Pepe Jeans as a sponsor, the engine could be ‘Pepe Le P-U’, perhaps?

      1. Random 79 says:

        Brilliant :)

    3. Superseven says:

      LOL!

      Utter PU
      +1

  10. Davexxx says:

    I bet Paul Hembery (Pirelli) is breathing a huge sigh of relief that the pressure and spotlight this season has shifted to Rob White! ;-)

    1. Richard says:

      I can imagine Paul Hembrey sitting with his feet up saying this is no so bad after all. -Pass a sandwich!

      1. James Allen says:

        Why is he wearing a 2011 pass around his neck in V2?

      2. Datruthertz says:

        Good spot, smarty pants :-)

      3. Random 79 says:

        Er…clearly he’s so happy with things at the moment that he went and lost his 2014 pass, so now he’s just using his old 2011 pass while hoping no-one will notice :)

        Shhh, keep it to yourself… ;)

    2. Gaz Boy says:

      Pirelli were damned if they did and damned if they didn’t last year. The teams said: “We want fast degrading tyres please Paul”. OK, Paul said, but can we do extensive testing for those new tyres? “No” said the teams collectively………….we all know the fall out from the “secret” Merc test.
      I don’t know, these F1 teams, they’re very arbitrary with their demands……..

  11. Random 79 says:

    That’s a very long-winded way of saying “we screwed up”.

    And it’s good thing those guys are on the job with the screen – we don’t want those sneaky Merc and Ferrari guys pinching any ideas from Renault :)

    1. Gaz Boy says:

      True enough Random, although why the Manarello and Brixworth lads would want to copy the, ahem (cough) masterpiece of Parisian engineering is beyond me!

    2. Goggomobil says:

      Mate, your top line says it all.
      It begs a question why did Toro Rosso change the power plant from Ferrari to Renault?.
      Dietrich Mateschitz did not become an a $ billionaire with the blinkers on.
      It may someone head roll,how nice it would be
      if Dr(who)Marko head is on the chopping block.

      1. James Allen says:

        TR isn’t their priority…

      2. Random 79 says:

        Easy to ask now, but at the time that they would have actually made the decision to switch RBR and Renault were having more success than TR and Ferrari, so it would have made sense to do what they could to bring the two teams in line.

        But I agree, in hindsight it won’t go down in history as one of DM’s best decisions ever…

      3. James Clayton says:

        I think it was a very clever move, to be honest.

        Red Bull facing problems is bad for PR. The B team *regularly* beating the A team; maybe even mounting a championship challenge; a PR nightmare

      4. Random 79 says:

        Like in 2008?

    3. Richard says:

      What how not to cool a energy store!

    4. James Clayton says:

      “Like in 2008″

      A couple of subtle differences

      Firstly, in 2008 they were both midfielders but the gap wasn’t massive. It was slightly embarrassing that Torro Roso got the first Red Bull win, but at least it was one of the drivers from their development program.

      Secondly, in 2008 Red Bull weren’t an established front running team with 4 double world championships already in their pocket…

      1. Random 79 says:

        Fair points :)

  12. Ed says:

    James, we all agree that the current situation is not great for the sport, if the situation is basically the same on 1st March (engine homologation) what are the options? Is it game over for Renault powered teams or is there a backup plan?

    1. James Allen says:

      They can update in the interests of reliability

      They did this when V8s were introduced, funnily enough!

      1. And that update turns reliability fix into a mapping tour-de-force for performance?

    2. Datruthertz says:

      James, we all agree that the current situation is not great….

      Please don’t include me in your ‘we’. Personally I think it is absolutely, one hundred per cent, cast in stone, written in letters 2 feet high, FANTASTIC :-)
      I haven’t laughed so much since granny caught her ti#$ in the mangle -):-):-)

      1. Ed says:

        Heh heh,fair point, i guess it does shake it all up and if half the field don’t cut the 107% and the other half run out of fuel and have to push it over the finish line it’ll make great TV for a race or two.

  13. Rich B says:

    if the 107% rule in qualifying still applies half the grid will be missing sunday

    1. Juzh says:

      If they decide to qualify.

    2. James Clayton says:

      Would be interesting. Normally in q1 the big teams don’t run flat out to the max. I wonder if they’d go for it if they believed that by doing to they’d have a chance to stick one to the bulls and prevent them from qualifying

  14. Peter says:

    Just shows up the farce of limiting testing. It was supposed to save money, which I agree is praiseworthy, but then to introduce and amjor power unit re-design which must have cost many, many millions….where is the money saving aspect of limited testing then? All you end up with is unreliable engines.

    To be honest I detest the whole idea of an engine freeze anyway, if teams can spend vast amounts of money chasing tiny lap time improvements through aero developments then why can’t the engine manufacturers do the same? Makes no sense to me.

    1. Kidza says:

      Then how do you explain the Merc and Ferarri engines being more reliable then? Did they have secret testing dispensation that Renault missed out on? No point blaming Renault’s poor job on the testing rules. Its the same for everybody. After all, if my memory is correct it was Renault who were most vocal in wanting these new engine rules. I read somewhere that they were prepared to walk out of F1 if the engine rules were not changed. Perhaps James could clarify this. They say “be careful what you wish for!”

  15. Lee says:

    James is there any truth in the view that the route cause of these issues is the fact that they downsized their F1 engine team follow the v8 engine spec freeze and that they just don’t have the people, both in terms of bodies and talent, to build such a complex powertrain?

    1. James Allen says:

      Not heard that. Renault was the one that was pushing hardest for the switch to V6 hybrid turbos back in 2011

      1. ManOnWheels says:

        Weren’t Renault rather pushing for straight 4 turbos?
        I think it were Mercedes and Ferrari who turned the straight 4 plans into V6s, much to the dislike of Renault and Cosworth who had already put some considerable efford in their straight 4s. I think the 4 cylinder engines would have sounded even better, just listen to the onboard sound of the Formula-2 cars, utter greatness!

      2. Gaz Boy says:

        I think Adrian Newey and Pat Fry pushed for a V6 over an inline 4, as they said that a straight 4 would require a spaceframe, where as these V6s could be used a stressed member – in another words the power unit doesn’t need to be cradled, just like the previous V8 engine.
        The last (and only) modern car to win a F1 world championship with an inline 4, the Brabham BT52 featured a rear subframe to hold the mega powerful single turbocharged BMW 1.5 litre straight 4.

      3. Richard says:

        Indeed they were, but Pat Symonds thinks that’s exactly the reason. – Lack of resource, and under funded.

      4. ManOnWheels says:

        I read that Horner stated it was the aftermath of Briatore’s decision to have the KERS unit built by the team in Enstone instead of the engine guys in Viry, so they’d lack the experience now.
        But quite frankly, I think that’s nonsense.

    2. NickH says:

      I heard that Lee, Pat Symonds was talking about it

    3. Chromatic says:

      recent Pat Symonds interview, I believe.

  16. kenneth chapman says:

    isn’t it possible for any of these guys to talk without resorting to ‘spin cliches’ ad nauseum?.

    what galls me is that they never actually say anything that is meaningful and actually describes what the nub of the problem[s]are.

    it would seem that at this late stage renault are in deep ‘merde’, dragging all their customers with them. i am really surprised that they should be having such apparently deep seated issues at this stage of the testing cycle.

    i was confident that they would at least be circulating with some regularity but that was a mistake. melbourne is shaping up to be a fiasco. i hope that i am wrong for the sake of it being ricciardo’s first outing in a what was a major team. these early races are vitally important as points gained in the early part of the season will mean a lot if some of the teams cannot develop substantially throughout the sesson.

  17. Dario says:

    Hi James. If Renault is behind the other two come Melbourne will they be given extra time?

    1. James Allen says:

      To do what?

      They can ask for permission to make changes on the engine from a homologising point of view for reliability reasons

      But they can’t ask for the race to start later because they aren’t ready!!

      1. toleman fan says:

        James, is the power system -software- homologated as well as the hardware? Can’t remember the source, but I saw a statement from Rob White or one of his customers to the effect that the issues were now with software development and that Renault were happy with their hardware build standard.

      2. James Allen says:

        Horner said that it was mainly software now

  18. coronwen says:

    It does make you wonder what will happen in Melbourne. If Renault/Red Bull are still so far back what do they do? Crank up the engines for quali and watch them expire in Q2. Don’t crank up the engine, qualify 15th, crank it up for the start and then blow up on lap three. Qualify 15th and run the race backed off and so get lapped five times by the Mercedes. Qualify 15th, then slowly back to the pits to retire at the end of lap one to save an engine. I sincerely hope none of the above happen as it’d hardly be the pinnacle of the sport. Whatever – Felipe and Williams will win of course!

    1. Richard says:

      My guess is leave the engine cover off to get a bit of air around it all! – but probably illegal. Unless they become unsafe, they’ll run till they blow. I’m looking forward to the entertainment!

      1. Clarks4WheelDrift says:

        They can’t do that, they need the shield over the turbo. If that broke without an engine cover it spins so fast it could fly through to the Earth’s core, splitting atoms and destroying all life eventually resulting in dinosaurs evolving and ruling again.

      2. Rich C says:

        Hate to tell you, but dinosaurs *still rule!
        See, there’s Bernie, Jean…

  19. Phil R says:

    Hi James

    If the Renaults are running 100-150BHP behind the front runners, is it possible that the 107% rule may become a problem for them at the start of the year? It’s only around 6 seconds difference at Albert Park for example.

    1. Jon S UK says:

      Ho Ho Ho!

    2. moxlox says:

      Yeah, I was thinking the same. Does the 107% qualifying rule still apply under the 2014 regulations? There are some massive lap time differences at the moment, even for testing.

    3. Ago says:

      An average lap time on any circuit is around1:30″… 90s
      7% of that is 6.3s so I don’t think this is going to be an issue at all.

    4. toleman fan says:

      Apparently the FIA are considering waiving the rule. It’s definitely in play.

  20. Texas T says:

    there is a lot of “Ronspeak” coming out of Renault:

    “…The immaturity of the PU combined with the time lost to incidents, means the chassis work to prepare for the season is also behind schedule. From this point on we must pursue and accelerate an upward curve…”

    Basically translates to, “we screwed up and we will remain screwed for the rest of the season because we are too far behind”.

    This time last year McLaren were on the backfoot and didn’t recovery all year – the Renault teams aren’t on the backfoot, they’ve been knocked flat on their back.
    I know its early but there appears to be every chance Vettel will not win a race this year.

    1. AlexD says:

      I really hope so…if Vettel will not win a race this year, I am likely go to to see races again, purchase season summaries and etc. Last year was a disaster…any domination is a disaster. I would love to see Vettel in a very poor car and how he is going to do what Alonso did in 2012.

      1. Spinodontosaurus says:

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VsLX2Uen2dc
        The last time Vettel had a poor car he was pretty handy. I think we can assume he hasn’t forgotten how to drive since then.

      2. Brad says:

        Don’t be fooled…Alonso didn’t have a poor car 2012

      3. H.Guderian says:

        HAHAHAHA!!!
        Perfect.

  21. Elie says:

    Gee that picture speaks a thousand words. Rob looks a very worried man. I dont doubt that what hes saying is true, but with the homologation deadline only days away- they could really miss the boat- this is the critical time as far ad their ability to accelerate the catch up curve otherwise fine tuning wont be enough.

  22. jeff says:

    So someone please clarify what happens at homologation. If the Renault “PU” isn’t up to snuff I have a very hard time believing F1/FIA will allow the season to go on with half the field already out of contention. Something will be done. If it comes down to it, some rule will be altered, and all hell will break loose. Boycotts?

    1. HerrE says:

      As James already pointed out, it’s similar to the V8 era. Renault wasn’t ready back then and they aren’t ready now. But the FIA let them catch up and I’m sure they will act the same this time.

      1. toleman fan says:

        Renault had the best V8 in the first year (when there was no engine freeze).

        Mercedes were nowhere.

        Mclaren-Mercedes went from being championship favourites to a distant third because the Mercedes V8 dragged them backwards.

        It was only when the engine freeze was imposed that Renault lost out, big time. Mercedes ramped up their efforts to beat the deadline, and then spent big on weaselling their way round the restrictions while Renault reduced their staffing and budgets drastically (because the engine freeze was supposed to be a cost saving agreement, n’est ce pas?)

        But it’s true as well that Renault are starting to look like Ford used to be in F1 – a day late and a dollar short. I’m beginning to wonder if the Ghosn is willing to spend what it costs to be successful any longer. Pity.

    2. Ed says:

      I’ve heard the pu is turned down because of the reliability, if this is true, it’s possible that the output will be competitive, so if they are allowed to fix reliability post homologation we will have a race.

  23. JD says:

    If Renault ever catches up this season, at least they have a double points race to look forward to. Thanks Bernie.

    1. j says:

      Except at that point they will have used up their 5 engines and will all be serving 10 place grid penalties.

  24. Luke says:

    Anyone else see the funny side of Rob Whites comments? Simply replace “PU” with “Poo” and you will see how deep in the stuff Renault are! I think they are gone for the season, I can see RBR being lapped in Melbourne and a few races after that. Will be like watching Minardis of old.

  25. Gilly says:

    I’m not a Red bull fan but they have been the best team over the last few years and its a shame that it has to end this way due to an incompetent engine supplier. Obviously RB have had some chassis issues but with renaults major issues it just compounds the problems.
    Vettle as WC deserves the right to defend his title and renault have failed miserably. I know people would be happy to see him languishing behind but this is not the way. Renault should be ashamed of themselves. I cant see renault fixing these issues and becoming even remotely competitive before the first race.

    1. But Caterham is running…

      Maybe ‘due to an incompetent engine supplier’ turns into a:

      ‘due to an incompetent Mr’s Newey project’?

      1. Gilly says:

        Yes Caterham has done some laps but hasn’t exactly set the world on fire either.
        I wouldnt exactly call Newy incompetent having won 10 constructors championships and over 80 GP victories. I wrote my response according to this article in which Bob white has admitted very diplomatically that they are “some weeks behind schedule”. Renault have a big responsibility to provide a decent PU to their teams and it is clear they have failed. Its not just about the amount of laps but the performance isnt even close. Renault themselves have even admited they have failed. read the article

      2. Hey Gilly,

        Mr. Newey is not incompetent, but the RB10 project is (as I said).

        Mr. White took part of the blame for Renault, as expected.

        But remember that Mr. Newey one week ago said that the agressive packaging was to tight and that the cooling demand was too high – so he took part of the blame for him too.

        Read it: http://grandprix247.com/2014/02/17/newey-over-heating-at-jerez-was-a-result-of-aggressive-packaging/

    2. Gaz Boy says:

      Agree, but I think Adrian and Bull have been complicit in Renault’s problems with a rear axle zone that doesn’t provide adequate thermal discharge properties: ie the ability to cool the engine and batteries. Adrian is a genius aero designer be has always been slightly off the pace when it comes to electrical engineering.

      1. Gilly says:

        I’m glad you understand.

        and yes I had read the article you are talking about. Over heating was the one issue that RB can take the blame for but that has been addressed and was not the problem at Bahrain.

        The numbers dont lie all four renault teams have done less laps (1/3 of the mercs) and underperformed.

        anyway I respect your opinion and this mine. so thanks for the chat.

    3. Iain:R8 says:

      The link from ‘Will Mesquita’ to the comments from Adrian Newey is rather interesting, if the reporting is correct.

      “Engine runs very hot” – could translate to – block and heads require less cooling and have higher boost pressure capability etc etc – more efficient, more power – less fuel consumption.

      “Everybody of the three engine manufacturers will have a different target for how hot their charge air is going back into the plenum and Renault have given us a fairly challenging target, with all sorts of advantages if we can get there, but it is not easy to achieve.” Possibly points to higher boost pressure, and greater intercooler requirement. Though it’s more complex than this. Turbo sizing/matching/flow etc.

      Seeing the PU pictures and reading between the lines, I think Renault will surprise us, when they get things working properly. I am surprised that RB didn’t get their thermal management correct. They use Ansys, which has a thermal FEA package. Even if the Renault figures were incorrect, at this level I would expect the team to have done their own guesstimation sim. So what happened?

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ymjSNaqZLps

      my 0.2p of guesstimation!

  26. Wilma the Great says:

    I would like to know, what adjustments and changes could still be made to the engines after homologation date, if the engines remain buggy and error prone.

    1. I know says:

      The regulations only allow for changes in order to improve safety or reliability, although I, too, would like some in-depth analysis of what improvements we can still expect.

      Presumably, the engines are not operating to their full potential, and while it would probably not be allowed to make modifications that increase the potential, it would be interesting to know which options exist post homologation that could help Renault to operate their engines more efficiently.

      If they are still at a large disadvantage in Melbourne, the Renault teams may also put pressure on the FIA to agree to a “Lex Vettel”, which would allow them to make performance-related upgrades.

  27. Jon S UK says:

    I’m sure the motor itself is fine, their problems are in the integration of the electrical power systems.
    I sense that they have totally messed up engineering required on the energy recovery systems not forgetting that the real art in this new era is the integration of all the technologies to produce a Power Unit which delivers linear torque on demand.

    Another worrying feature which has been acknowledged by RB is the system runs hot! The V6 engine is a mature known technology – electric motors acting as motors are incredibly efficient and run cool, so do we assume that the excessive heat being generated is due to losses from the electrical generation and storage systems?
    If so, this points to fundamental issues of the power management systems.

    The software updates we read about are to address the ERS effects but do not address the cause!

    Considering how long Renault have had to develop this PU and the problems they have now indicates to me that they’re out of their depth and will take months to fix!
    Cancelled contracts on the way.

    One last note – rumours of Infiniti leaving Red Bull indicate to me a conflict of interest and that RB have already approached Honda for 2015.

  28. Pod says:

    Have no fear, RBR and Reanault fans, the all-powerful Carlos Ghosn will simply stand before an audience of securities analysts and decree that Renault Sport F1 PU will have parity with Mercedes “PU” by Melbourne. This decree will be as effective as Mr Ghosn’s decree that Renault SA would achieve a normalized 6% EBIT margin.

  29. jake says:

    James,
    I find it incredible that the brain power floating around in Red Bull would get the basic cooling requirement so wrong. Jerez was at least 30 deg cooler than the temp at the warmer venues and they could not cope.
    Is it more likely that Renault misled the teams on the amount of cooling required, perhaps they issued a predicted cooling load figure and failed to update the teams when they found it was significantly underestimated. Could it be a case of “well fix that before the testing starts” but never did due to the other more serious issues they have.

  30. aveli says:

    hello james, that was a very honest undisputed presentation of renault’s position but i’m confused by the use of the words ‘power unit’ to describe the engine. I thought power meant the rate of energy consumption or production. should they not just call it a hybrid engine? just like electrical energy generation stations are named power stations.
    i am confused.

    1. James Allen says:

      Power unit is the term we have to use now to describe the IC engine and the hybrid system of energy regeneration (ERS) i.e. motors and battery, which is coupled to it. If any part of that PU fails then that is one of their 5 allocated units for the season gone,

      1. Richard says:

        To be honest the word “powertrain” has been used in the automotive industry for many years and is nothing new. It actually covered everything from engine, gearbox, final drive, and all the ancillaries so it simply means not just the IC engine itself.

      2. aveli says:

        i see, does that mean the fia decided on the name?

      3. Rich C says:

        No, because its not French. There are laws about this, y’know!

  31. Ian H says:

    James

    Obviously at this point in time reliability is Renault’s key concern, but after the engine homologation date if Renault find that they are behind Mercedes & Ferrari in engine power/performance – can they request engigne changes under reason of ‘reliability’ and improve engine power as a result?

    Do Mercedes & Ferrari need to give green light to any engine changes by Renault after the engine development has been frozen?

  32. Richard says:

    If Red Bull manage to recover from this and win the title they are indeed a remarkable and formidable team, but I think the writing is on the wall. This is the year the Red Bull dominance is halted. It seems that Mercedes have done their homework all too well particularly with regard to the powertrain, however McLaren are perfectly capable of steeling the honours with regard to the car. Ferrari cannot be ignored particularly with the driver lineup they have. I do think the championship will go to one of those three, and it’s going to be interesting to learn precisely which.

    1. Gaz Boy says:

      Well said Richard

  33. medor says:

    It’s been said this mess is due to Renault having delegated the electrical energy units to the teams, themselves only providing the engine.
    - is this true ?
    - if true, isn’t this just foolish ? It seems only major corporations such as Renault, Mercedes, or Fiat may have the necessary ressources to design and build such complex systems.

    1. Anthony Young says:

      They are producing the electrical energy systems themselves now, but they have not done so in the past. Whereas Ferrari and Mercedes have always done so, and therefore started the development process for 2014 with an advantage.

      However they have experience built up in the Renault-powered teams that they have no doubt drawn on in developing the 2014 units. You would think that the people at Enstone and Milton Keynes who have worked in this area would now have redundant skills as far as the teams are concerned, and should have been redeployed to Renault to help with the new system.

      All this was well known in advance, so they had plenty of time to put in an extra effort on the electrical side to catch up. They have no excuse for having failed to do so.

  34. Steve says:

    For Formula 1 fan, here is a free guide to the 2014 season.

    http://www.newziggf1.com/guidef1_2014.pdf

  35. Rob says:

    What if Renault have some cracking PU design that, if only it worked, is clearly superior to the other Pus? Then, you ‘homologate’ the clever design, warts and all. Then, you repeatedly go to the FIA with proof of a particular reliability problem, tweak the design repeatedly to fix the issues, and build in reliability over time. Isn’t the homologation for a number of years? How do you ensure that you give yourself ‘room for improvement’ for the coming years? You design something more far-fetched that, when finally working, will put everyone else to shame. All within the rules.

    Getting more speed out of a safe design is a lot harder than getting a fast design to be more reliable, in the long run.

    To the folks at Viry, I’d be glad to help you with your spin… :)

    1. Brad says:

      Well I really hope you’re Rob, sounds like a grande masterplan!!

  36. All revved-up says:

    I can understand Red Bull being late with their 2014 car because they were pushing the development on the 2013 car to win both Championships.

    But why is Renault so late on the Power Unit? Given that there was an engine freeze, I would have thought Renault could have started work on the Power Unit much earlier than Red Bull – and most probably did.

    So why is Renault so late with their dyno testing and software calibration etc?

  37. Tealeaf says:

    I believe he deserves??? That’s actually a wrong statement, so I guess its all correct assuming Hamilton is the best driver in the world based on him finishing in a best championship position of 4th since 2008? And on the way beaten by Button and arguably also beaten by Rosberg if it wasn’t for team orders and multiple mechanical failures. So yes Vettel, Button, Rosberg all deserve more credit from the british speaking media, as I’ve said before these tests even if Mercedes lock out the front row at Melbourne I wouldn’t start celebrating too early, just look at 2012.

    1. Richard says:

      I don’t think do so. In the three years Hamilton and Button were team mates it was 2-1 to Hamilton, and Hamilton potentially could have won the championship had it not been for McLaren’s technical, and operational slip ups. Points do not carry over year to year, never have never will. Hamilton also beat Rosberg on points and the wins would have been 2-1 to Hamilton had it not been for tyre failure. You present a very slanted view that frankly no-one is taken in by.

      1. Tealeaf says:

        If buts could would, selective facts doesn’t make Hamilton’s facts any better, truth is the only way Hamilton can win the title is if his main challengers are te likes of Massa and Rosberg, even then he’d need major help from other sources (e.g. Glock) to beat these average drivers.

      2. Richard says:

        You will see just how average Vettel is this year when Ricciardo settles in. This year Vettel will be confined to the midfield.

    2. Gaz Boy says:

      RE Tealeaf and Richard: I think both of you are half right and half wrong, if I can explain:
      Lewis has incredible speed, but also incredible ability to have accidents/collisions/incidents with his competitors. I think also Lewis has poor spacial awareness: witness Brazil last year when he swiped Vatty off the track. Lewis had more collisions with his fellow drivers than just about any other top line driver. Lewis seems to think a driver will just magically jump out of his way. They won’t Lewis!
      In his favour, Lewis is superb in the wet, and masterful at controlling the race from the front.
      Jenson is not the best qualifier, and his driving technique backs him into a corner if a car’s set up is not complaint. However, when a car set-up is to his liking, he can be in a league of his own. Jenson is stunning in mixed conditions, and is superb at coming through the pack.
      Lewis needs to stop running into his colleagues, and Jenson needs to get his qualifying pace sorted out. Otherwise, they are both superb!

  38. john says:

    James, what’s the the qualifying cut off point this season, is it still 107% ? is it possible that we could see a lot of renault engined cars DNQ in the first races?

    1. James Allen says:

      There is no mention of 107% cut off in the 2014 FIA Sporting Regulations, as far as I can see

      1. Random 79 says:

        Unless they just haven’t updated the page yet it’s in 36.1

        http://www.formula1.com/inside_f1/rules_and_regulations/sporting_regulations/8686/fia.html

      2. Coutellier says:

        The 107% cut off rule seems still alive under art 36.1 “During Q1, any driver whose best qualifying lap exceeds 107% of the fastest time set during that session, or who fails to set a time, will not be allowed to take part in the race.” Sporting Regulations V2_23 January 2014

      3. James Allen says:

        I stand corrected. You are right it’s still there

  39. Goob says:

    Given the 100KG fuel limit – does that kill the last 2% or racing left in F1? Or is it not as bad as it looks on paper?

    I don’t understand the point of racing, if the driver can’t push… there is a real disconnect in F1, right now… everything is geared towards boredom.

    1. Craig D says:

      Fuel efficiency is a major factory not currently being discussed during the test sessions; largely cos there’s little information on it.

      But even if Mercedes are the best in terms of power and driveability, if Ferrari have a more fuel efficient engine, it could be them that are able to have the better race performance.

      While I welcome this new era of finally pushing technology and efficiency, I do share your concerns on the racing. After all it’s a sport first and foremost. I recall Button, when asked about the major factor of racing, saying fuel conservation is a massive part of the race…

      I’m remaining optimistic however. And if Vettel isn’t dominating again, that’ll be a positive already!

  40. Mitchyboy says:

    Can’t help but feel disappointed for Dan Ricciardo. At this rate, his home race will be an embarrassment for Red Bull. It’s just unfortunate for him that his home race is first-up!

    Surely the Renault engine teams are going to suffer until racing returns to Europe. If they encounter problems early in the season, it’s not like they can have parts quickly flown over in between practice sessions etc.

  41. AdamJ says:

    Caterham will have made a roomy non-cutting she car that ironically has more room for better cooling than the sharp edge teams… Caterham to score a point in Oz..?

  42. Fireman says:

    I found this to be an interesting read: http://www.mark-gallagher.com/news/testing-times-for-f1s-power-players

    “The reliability required by every manufacturer’s power unit has yet to be fully proven.”

    Also, according to Autosport, Renault powered teams did more laps than Ferrari powered teams in Bahrain.

  43. Scott D says:

    I really dislike the use of the phrase “Power Unit”, which is so vague. Why can’t we just keep referring to the “engine/ERS”?

  44. Anthony Young says:

    I guess it’s right that you should allow Rob White space on your website to put over his position, but I’m not sure why he should be allowed to do so without any editorial comment, let alone ‘how come?’ type questions. The bottom line is that this is a man who must be in severe danger of losing his job, putting out a lot of spin and PR-speak to try to minimise the problems. It is not designed to be informative.

    As far as we are concerned, what we would like to know is:

    a. why is the engine so unreliable even when it is running so far down on power?
    b. is it capable of running at the same power as the Mercedes and Ferrari engines if the reliability issues are resolved?
    c. or is it just down on power anyway, so will be uncompetitive for the whole of 2014, even if they are allowed to fix the reliability issues after 1 March?
    d. also RB and Lotus fans would like some explanation from him as to how this sorry state of affairs has come about, and preferably an apology.

    He hasn’t given us any of this.

    1. kenneth chapman says:

      yes anthony, you are quite right in requesting a ‘how come’ style of interview. i too have been less than impressed with the BS being sprouted by renault and to a lesser degree by RB.

      i am sure that some serious sleuthing by james and his team would unearth some better sourced detail of what the problems are. there must be volumes of discussions between teams and team members as to the problems being encountered by renault.

      we are literally a couple of weeks away from the melbourne GP and it would appear that RB could have problems with the 107% rule!!! can one imagine that? come on james, get the cloak and dagger out and head off into the dark bahreini desert for some clandestine meetings with shady MB/mclaren garagistes. i can’t wait….

  45. Tealeaf says:

    No its not right teams can use success as a sort of randsom to stay in F1, Mercedes would be nowhere in F1 if it wasn’t for the partnership forged with Mclaren and buying Ilmor’s engine company at Brixworth, and then trying to buy success by purchasing Brawn and use Ross’s knowledge and skills, in fact the whole operation has nothing to do with a in house Mercedes or AMG operation from scratch like BMW did with their engines or Toyota did with a brand new project by building the factory at Cologne, in fact looking at Mercedes early efforts like their engine for Sauber in the early 90′s they were diabolical, I think sooner and later their wheels will fall off even if they win both championships this year, we need more real F1 teams like Williams and Mclaren letting the Manufacturers the manopoly will damage the sport, indipendent engine manufacturers like Hart and Mechacrone is needed back in F1, but still I wouldn’t mind Jenson picking up a second championship just a shame the Mclaren is slower than Mercedes.

    1. Richard says:

      Mercedes designed their powertrain and their car! Doesn’t that add up to a proper F1 team that can do everything not just half the job. Ross Brawn helped put the technical structure in place, and has helped the team move forward just like any other capable team principle.

    2. kenneth chapman says:

      @tealeaf….ferrari are a manufacturer are they not? in your opinion then ferrari are not a proper F1 team?

  46. ànt says:

    She is there on merit and sure she would perform better than Max Chilton who is only there on money and never ever going to be anywhere near good enough but no one says anything as he is another good old boy…like Jenson…give her a break, I was lucky enough to see her at testing last year and she was outstanding.

  47. Jayne says:

    Hi.

    Can’t help thinking that we’re all getting sucked in to Red bull being rubbish for this season…wouldn’t surprise me at all if they take pole in Melbourne and win more races than anyone else this season……you all seem to forget that testing is testing and we all had them down as 5th quickest car in winter testing 2 years ago…..then what happened…they have proved to be the team to beat and will not be easy to beat this year I’m sure.

    1. kenneth chapman says:

      i somehow feel that this a completely different scenario to what happened in the past. look across the field and you will see that it is simply not just red bull but all the renault engined teams that are disadvantaged.

      i would expect that renault will eventually get their act together but when and at what cost, including the cost to their championship hopes?

      in the absence of details regarding the actual problems it would appear that it will not be easy for renault to correct in time for melbourne. i would also just remind you of the ‘homologation’ issue. this issue alone would be cause for max ‘angst’ amongst the renault engined teams. without a substantial fix those teams could be hampered, not just at the start but for the entire season!

      yes, there are so many ‘ifs’ and i am anxiously awaiting a positive outcome prior to the season start but i am not holding my breath that there will be one.

  48. Richard D says:

    James, specifically to do with the fuel limit I was wondering if there was any information regarding which drivers are more fuel efficient than others? Least pedal overlap etc. I am sure the change in engines will influence this data as would poor aerodymnamics but it may point to who will struggle to race flat out in the first few races until their driving style adapts. Thanks for a great website, mail & tweets

    1. James Allen says:

      They are working on that in simulators at the moment and at tests

      There are techniques like lift and coast into corners which will make a significant difference

  49. kenneth chapman says:

    i read an article a few days ago re ‘lift & coast’ but it seemed to suggest that this would be at the expense of laptime?

    1. James Allen says:

      To a limited degree, but the saving in fuel makes it a gain overall.

      Pedro de la Rosa has been working on it for Ferrari in the simulator since last summer!!

      1. kenneth chapman says:

        the fuel metering unit must be the singular most important part on any car this season.

        i presume that all cars must still provide the mandatory one litre for testing purposes at the race termination, therefore does this mean that available fuel is now 99litres/99kg?

        saving fuel would only be an asset insofar as the final dash to the flag as the aim would be to only have the mandated one litre/one kg and nothing more…even down to ML’s.

        last year i read an article in racecar engineering from the suppliers of the fuel flow metering inline units and they were struggling to be able to provide the degree of accuracy required by the teams. i presume that this has now been achieved as there has been no mention of it to date. then again, there is a paucity of actual engineering data being published.

        i am still of the opinion that we are not going to see any all out racing owing to the fuel/tyre/engine combinations being so complex. i could of course be completely wrong. let’s hope so.

  50. Darren Lin says:

    Mr.Allen, will you think red bull can dominant this season because Renault have technical problem?

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