Posted on April 5, 2014


Renault’s Remi Taffin has said that the French manufacturer is a month behind its rival Mercedes, with Red Bull Racing’s Adrian Newey adding that, as a result, it will be “extremely difficult” for his team to catch Mercedes before it’s too late to save the championship. “We can clearly see that we are something like a month behind, ” said Taffin in the Bahrain paddock yesterday. “During the winter I would say (we were) a month or two (behind). “We really need to focus on this,” he added. “Obviously the fact that we have these back-to-back races is not that More…

Posted on February 22, 2014


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 More…

Posted on February 19, 2014


Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg went quickest on the first day of the second pre-season test in Bahrain as Red Bull Racing again hit trouble. Sebastian Vettel completed just 14 laps of the Sakhir circuit in the afternoon before a mechanical issue brought his running to a halt. The defending champions arrived in Bahrain hoping that work at its Milton Keynes base and at Renault’s HQ in Viry had cured the problems that restricted the team to just 21 laps in Jerez but day one Bahrain began in the same style with RB10 garage-bound until the afternoon. When Vettel eventually emerged More…

Posted on January 31, 2014


Renault Sport F1 Deputy Managing Director Rob White has called this week’s pre-season test failures associated with the company’s new power unit “unacceptable” but insists the manufacturer has the “necessary tools and determination to succeed”. Cars powered by the manufacturer’s Energy F1-2014 power unit suffered a catalogue of problems at this week’s test in Jerez, with Red Bull Racing worst affected. The defending champions completed just 21 laps over the four days of the test. As the test drew to a close this evening, White admitted the situation was unacceptable. “We have not run enough laps, and when we have More…

Posted on January 31, 2014


What a difference four days make. We’ve gone from that slightly eerie day one silence, which was only sporadically broken by the sound of a car heading out for a single lap before gingerly returning to the garage, to a cacophony of V6 engines pounding out laps here in Jerez today – unless, of course the power unit in the back of your car was a Renault. It was always going to be a fascinating week, but few could have predicted just how many talking points would crop up as the days wore on. A nightmare start for Renault; questions More…

Posted on January 29, 2014


McLaren’s Jenson Button topped the timesheets in Jerez today, ahead of Kimi Raikkonen, but the second of day of pre-season testing was defined by problems for Renault-powered teams. While Mercedes-powered teams logged 212 laps today and Ferrari-powered cars put in 100 tours of the Spanish circuit, Red Bull Racing, Caterham and Toro Rosso, which all use Renault’s Energy F1-2014 power unit, completed just 19 laps today. Sebastian Vettel managed just eight laps in his RB10 before the team called a halt to proceedinga citing a problem with the car’s energy store. Toro Rosso fared even worse, with rookie Daniil Kvyat More…

Posted on November 5, 2012


The Caterham Group has taken major step in its development under Tony Fernandes by deepening its ties with Renault, its Formula 1 engine supplier, in a new partnership to design and build sports cars. Caterham has bought a 50% stake in the Renault-owned Automobiles Alpine Renault, which was originally the historic French Alpine manufacturer which was a giant of the rallying world in the 1970s and whose Dieppe Plant in Normandy has been more recently used as the base for the production of Renault Sport models. The new company will be known as The Société des Automobiles Alpine Caterham when More…

Posted on February 7, 2012


As the first official pre-season test of 2012 kicked off today in Jerez Renault Sport F1 have been busy, adding a fourth team Williams to their roster of customer teams along with Caterham, Lotus and the works outfit, Red Bull. This year will see Renault’s 35th year of competition in Formula One, producing ten Constructors’ titles and nine driving titles, and they will be hoping that the RS27 will bring more glory with Red Bull this season. Having added another new team to their supply for two consecutive years Renault Sport will feel assured that they can continue to improve More…

Posted on November 29, 2011


Kimi Raikkonen, Formula 1′s most enigmatic driver, will make it a record six world champions on the F1 grid next year when he lines up to race with Lotus Renault. Fans have been on tenterhooks for months to see whether the 2007 world champion, who is still only 32 years old, would make a comeback, following in the footsteps of Michael Schumacher, who spent three years on the sidelines before coming back with Mercedes in 2010. Like Schumacher, Raikkonen was eased into early retirement by Ferrari. The Finn has been in rallying since he was dropped by the Scuderia after More…

Posted on November 3, 2011


“And so it came to pass that in Milton Keynes in the shire of Buckingham, Stewart GP begat Jaguar, which begat Red Bull, which smote everyone into submission. While Tyrrell begat BAR, which begat Honda which begat Brawn which begat Mercedes which chased furiously after the Red Bulls.” Name changes in Formula 1 are as old as the hills; it’s a business and takeovers are an essential part of business life. They aren’t always allowed, as Tom Walkinshaw found when he tried to turn Arrows into TWR, but generally where it’s in most people’s interests to see strong brands with More…

Posted on September 14, 2011


The decision of reigning F1 champions Red Bull and Renault to extend their deal with for a supply of customer engines for five more years was announced over the Monza weekend, before Sebastian Vettel went out and won a second race in a row on what’s always been considered a “power circuit”. This deal is significant in that it means that not only will the team use the current V8 units with the Renault KERS system for 2012 and 2013, but is committed to the marque for the new generation of fuel efficient V6 1.6 litre turbo engines from 2014 More…

Posted on August 25, 2011


There was drama in the Spa paddock this afternoon as the jilted driver in the Renault camp, Nick Heidfeld, turned up wearing team gear and saying that he has a valid contract to race and has launched legal proceedings against the Renault team. His replacement, Bruno Senna, said that he has a confirmed deal for two races, Spa and Monza and that beyond that it depends on some legal issues but that “the intention is to do the rest of the season.” Renault confirmed this at 4pm with a statement saying, “The team’s present intention is to give Bruno the More…

Posted on August 24, 2011


Less than 24 hours before the drivers are due in the Spa Francorchamps paddock for the FIA Press Conference, Renault has confirmed that Bruno Senna will race for the team this weekend. A brief statement said only that he would race in Spa in place of Nick Heidfeld and that he would be in the press conference. The team will announce more details in due course. The news was first broken by BBC’s Eddie Jordan on Monday and comes after a disappointing campaign for Heidfeld, who was drafted in to replace the injured Robert Kubica. Senna drove in Hungary on More…

Posted on August 1, 2011


One of the more extraordinary moments of the Hungarian Grand Prix was the fire and subsequent explosion on Nick Heidfeld’s Renault following his pit stop. This was the second fire for the German this year. He had just made a stop in which he was delayed and the sidepods caught fire. “In his second pit stop we had a problem with one of the wheel nuts meaning that the car was sat at high revs for a long time, ” explained LRGP chief race engineer Alan Permane. “This meant a build-up of heat which caused a fire. Although it looked More…

Posted on July 4, 2011


It was good to see today that Williams has joined forces with Renault again, recreating a partnership which dominated F1 racing in the 1990s. Together they won four Drivers’ and five Constructors’ world titles and 63 race victories. The circumstances are rather different this time, in that Williams joins a list of customers including Red Bull Racing, Lotus Renault GP and Team Lotus. Back in the 1990s it was for a the works team, with Ligier and then Benetton coming along in 1995 to also get the engine. The deal is for 2012 and 2013 for the current V8 engines, More…

Posted on May 15, 2010


Robert Kubica took the starring role in the dress rehearsal for the Monaco Grand Prix qualifying session. The Pole in the Renault was impressive on Thursday in free practice, but he was on a mission this morning, lapping the principality in 1m 14.806s, just 5/100ths ahead of Felipe Massa. Mark Webber was a whisker behind in the Red Bull with Hamilton fourth, two tenths off Kubica’s time. But if Kubica’s declaration of candidacy for the new Prince of Monaco was the feel good story of the morning, the eye catching headline was the accident of Fernando Alonso, who crashed the More…

Posted on May 11, 2010


Over the weekend I had a chance to chat at length with the new owner of the Renault F1 team, Gerard Lopez, who is a fascinating character. One of the world’s leading investors in technology companies, he was a founder investor in Skype and is bringing some fresh thinking to this sport. I will post separately on the wider topics of our conversation, which include his plans for Renault, how he is helping F1 engage with the internet and mobile phones and a whole new business model for an F1 team. But the eye catching headline from the chat was More…

Posted on January 31, 2010


Today in Valencia, the BMW Sauber and Renault teams revealed their new cars ahead of the first day of testing tomorrow. BMW Sauber went first in the morning, Peter Sauber showing off the first car since acquiring the team back from BMW and showing off his two new drivers, Kamui Kobayashi and Pedro de la Rosa. The team has yet to be apply for a name change and is staying “BMW Sauber” for the moment, according to Sauber. It is noticeable that the BMW colours are still to be seen around the nose of the car and to the casual More…

Posted on November 4, 2009


The double whammy of Bridgestone and Toyota’s withdrawal from F1 is sending shivers down the spine of F1. Today Renault held a scheduled meeting to discuss its future participation in F1. It appears that there will be no communication about the outcome of that meeting until later in the week. French colleagues tell me that they do not expect Renault to pull out, but there is a panicky feeling in the air, as there was after Honda withdrew last Christmas. The BBC is reporting that acting team principal Bob Bell and managing director Jean Francois Caubet attended the meeting but More…

Posted on September 25, 2009


New Renault managing director Jean-Francois Caubet has said that Renault has suffered immense damage to its brand and considered an F1 pullout. It has decided to commit itself to the sport, but must put in place a management structure that will keep the team true to Renault’s values. This weekend has been utterly humiliating for the team so far, with the high profile rejection by two sponsors, ING and Mutua Madrilena. To be cast off like that by two blue chip international companies gives Renault a pariah status that is hard to comprehend for one of the world’s leading car More…

Posted on September 24, 2009


Bernie Ecclestone has said in the last few days that he thinks that the penalty meted out to Flavio Briatore by the FIA World Motor Sport Council was too harsh. Ecclestone is a member of the WMSC himself and has a personal interest because Briatore is a close friend and business associate with whom Ecclestone spends his evenings at race meetings. Now, it seems their relationship is broken. Speaking at an LG press conference in Singapore today he said, “He’s not talking to me, I don’t know. He thinks I should have defended him, which I couldn’t.” But beyond that, More…

Posted on August 29, 2009


Today was nothing short of extraordinary, with Giancarlo Fisichella taking the pole for Force India ahead of Jarno Trulli and Nick Heidfeld and tomorrow should be a really exciting Grand Prix. A lot is likely to change from the top ten we have on the grid and any one of three or four drivers could win the race. The pace of Fisi and the BMWs in particular caught out the Red Bull team who were competitive in Q2, especially with Sebastian Vettel and so went for the slightly higher fuel load in Q3, as part of their standard tactic of More…



COUNTDOWN TO NEXT RACE
Strategy Report
Innovation and Technology brought to you by TATA Communications
Senna DVD
Download the Chequered Flag Podcast here
MTS
Darren Heath
Sport Right Now