F1 Winter Break
Renault brands failures ‘unacceptable’ but expects ‘definitive solution’ in Bahrain
Posted By: Justin Hynes  |  31 Jan 2014   |  8:32 pm GMT  |  292 comments

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 they have not been run at an acceptable performance level,” he said. “The underlying causes are not straightforward: there isn’t a single component or system that has caused particular trouble. A number of related things have been troublesome, principally concerning the control and operation of the various sub-systems of the power unit within the car.

“For example on the first run day, we had problems with a sub-system within the energy store that did not directly concern either the battery nor the operation of the battery – it is an electronic part that was in the same housing as the energy store.

“We subsequently had problems with turbocharger and boost control systems with knock-on effects on the associated engine management systems, subsequently provoking mechanical failure.”

Renault and its partner teams explored a number of fixes during the week, as White outlined.

“Between days one and two, with the help of Red Bull, we implemented a later level of hardware for the rest of the test to address the problem within the energy store. This ran for the remaining days,” he explained. “In parallel to running in Jerez, the team at Viry has run dyno test programs to investigate the trackside problems and to propose solutions.

“We identified the probable root cause of our main turbo control issues, implemented some workarounds that were first seen at the end of day three and deployed in the three cars for day four. This established a very minimalist baseline from which we could build.”

White insists, however, that solutions should be in place for the next test in Bahrain starting on 19 February.

“We are a long way from the type of operation we had planned and prepared for – largely as a result of the workarounds we have implemented – but all the information [we have gathered] is useful,” he said. “In dealing with the issues we have moved further away from the configuration we were comfortable with, which has resulted in the relatively slow times, but the running has given us a vastly greater understanding of the issues we face. We absolutely expect to have a more definitive solution in place for the next session in Bahrain.”

If problems do reoccur in Bahrain, Renault and its teams could face serious problems, with final engines needing to be homologated at the end of next month. White, though, says this will not be an issue.

“The homologation deadline is the end of February and is fundamental to regulations,” he said. “Beyond that time, changes are permitted only with prior approval from the FIA. Change is not forbidden, but subject to the sporting regulations and we should not get so hung up on this date.

“It is unacceptable that we have not been able to mitigate the problems sufficiently to allow our partners to run at any length. We are working hard to correct this in time for Bahrain and aim to make amends there.”

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Williams dodged a bullet


Don't get carried away just yet. Williams is still Williams and this was just a test session. Furthermore...

While everyone is writing Red Bull's, Ricciardo's, and Renault's obituarys Renault is correcting their problems (literally as we write these emails). See you in Bahrain.


"Williams is still Williams"

Very true - I suggest you go and look at their history. Ferrari took much longer to get back to winning ways. Williams are beginning to look like they have re-found their mojo.


Agree, and having Big Rob and Pat Symonds is a very positive move.


Ferrari last won constructors title in 1983, before winning it again in 1999, which means, it was "just" 16 years for Ferrari, while Williams has already gone 16 years without winning a title and they surely weren't in the title fight last two years. If Williams don't win either of the two titles this year, it will be longer than Ferrari had to wait before winning again in 1999.



(My) Ferrari did indeed take 21 years to win it again.

But we're still a bit far away from 2017, aren't we? Williams still has 3 years to come up with a good car and a strong lineup.

Just saying.


Last time Williams won a title was in 1997, they are not too far away from making 21 years.


The problem is even when the Renault powered cars were running they are alarmingly slow, Torro Rosso and Caterham will be uphended by Marrusia even on pace like this, it seems this Renault power unit is from a lower formula, its all good saying its 'unacceptable' but its all just words and to have the cheek to charge the teams an astronomical amount for these units are just plain embarrasing, the Renault powered teams should just plainly not pay for these 500hp jokes.


As I remember Renault came to F1 more than once before, weather as a team or just motor supplier.

They won to a bore and retired for a while.

Of course it's just old history

But you know what it is said about History... it tends to repeat itself.


Read the article again, it is explained clearly why the Renault units were low on power. It is also explained that the interim measures which made them slow will be replaced by real solutions at the next test, bringing them back to full power.

Mercedes and Ferrari have a massive advantage no doubt, but you are too quick to dismiss a company that has a history like Renault's in F1.


Ha and torro rosso took the bullet instead!


Don't know why red bull didn't hedge their bets and keep torro Rosso with Ferrari engines. This is the biggest engine change since the eighties they shouldn't have put all their eggs in one basket


Because designing around 2 engines is twice as expensive. Exactly because it's such a big change this year, it's more economic to have one engine.

It's not in the FIAs interest to have all the Renault teams down on power or unreliable, so they will let them fix it whatever the rules say!



Didn't they ever! Well done Frank and Claire!


Because Frank is a definition of F1 Team owner unlike recent batch of whinnies.


And yet they still can do better.They need a much better budget and Newey


I think Newey's strengths in the aeronautic department will be nullified this year by aero restrictions and powertrain reliability.

Adrian Newey Jnr

@Gazboy - not to mention, he oversaw the recent improvement at Marussia on a very limited budget. Arguably working at the back of the field is a lot harder than the front given the disparity of manpower and resources.


Yes Frank could do with a bit more finance. As for Adrian, well Frank has got Pat Symonds. Pat took Adrian and Macca to the cleaners when he guided Fernando to WDC/constructors in 2005/2006; he is very savvy and street wise. A very good recruitment by Frank.


I knew going into this season that the engine could be the Achilles heel to continued RBR domination, and so it seems. Of course, they could rectify all their problems and then be flying, we'll have to see how Bahrain plays out.

Will a 'Perez' happen to Ricciardo? Get a top team seat, and then they (with their engine partner) produce a dud? Guess it's happened to others even before that ... Senna going to Williams in 1994 is a good example. It wasn't the same beast of a car that it was in 1993 or 1992 (or 1991 even), at least not in the first half of the season. Of course Senna had already had the privilege of a supercar at McLaren from 1988-91, a privilege both Perez and Ricciardo haven't had.


Bernie says if engines stayed same we'd have a heck of a WDC battle this year. Thoughts?


who's to say we wont have a heck of a championship battle this year anyway?


I think we will, but initially it will be beset by unreliability.


As the promotor of the sport he doesn't half do some moaning about it.


Bernie doesn't like the weasel engines, but I don't like the playdough tyres!


No chance redbull would've just gone on to dominate even more if stayed with the previous regs


Not sure about that because their teeth would have been pulled due to the changes in aeronautics. - Assuming they still were forced into the central exhaust outlet.


Alesi to Ferrari is the classic example. 5 years later, 1 win, 1 pole.


Ricciardo going to Red Bull in 2014...

If ever there was a career error, this is it.


I think there will be a different perspective at the first Bahrain test, but the Renault powered teams will be on the back foot. On the other hand if issues persist then it starts to look dire. - I doubt it though as there are a lot of reputations at stake. One thing that makes me smile is that Red Bull have succeeded mainly through supreme aeronautics, but now the emphasis has shifted Horner does not like it as it centres on their weaknesses rather than playing to their strengths. As they say all is fair in.........


Quade: It depends what the problems are! I imagine the energy store problems will get sorted before Bahrain. As to how quickly the solutions are implemented depends on the degree of change required. If they have coerrectly identified the failure modes it should be relative easy to implement, but it may be as late as the last test before the units are functioning correctly.


Two years to build the engines and six weeks to fix them? Not realistic.

Renault mentioned dyno correlation, so the matter is pretty fundamental and they basically don't know what's going on. Its dice rolling.


When a driver from Queen Elizabeth II commonwealth realm of Australia drives a Red Bull they always seem to have a lot of reliability issues, or at least more problem than a certain European called Sebastian...........can smiling Daniel turn into Desperate Dan this year?


The season starts in six weeks and will end in November. Things just might change.


So you're saying that, in your opinion, he should've stayed at Toro Rosso ?


Torro Rosso has a few more laps under their belt. No?

That's because they have a better chassis than Red Bull this season.


Nah I disagree. If he didn't go for it he would be out, never to be heard from again. Surely that's worse.


Staying at Toro Rosso wouldn't have been much better for Dan - they've got Renault power this year too.


Could be worse, in the long run it is still a pretty good decision. Once Renault fix up their power unit and RB their cooling issues, who knows Red Bull might still be up there.


They've been building these engines for two years now.

I don't see how they can be fixed in a mere 6 weeks.

Renault even made the incredible statement that their dyno work had little correlation with what they found out on track. It looks really bad, all we can say at this time is fingers crossed for an engine that can at least complete a race sometime this season.


Yes, staying at TR would have been a better move! I do not remember there being many other choices for Dan. You have to expect RB will get on top of their problems much quicker than TR.


Not really. End of the day Red Bull have a massive budget compared to Toro Rosso and in the long run will be more competitive


But TR are on Renault engines as well this year!


Considering he was a Red Bull employee already and basically under contract, his 2014 options realistically were not racing Toro Rosso or Red Bull. Regardless of how car is he is now measured against Vettel with the pluses and minuses that brings.


I was thinking exactly the same with regards to Dan. When he inked his signature on a Red Bull contract he probably thought "Yes! Yes! Yes! Competitive and race winning car beckons for me 2014!" Imagine his horror the last couple of days at the car breaking down EVERY time he down a lap..........has Dan jumped out of the Rosso frying pan and straight into a Red Bull fire (no pun intended!)


Haha credit that last line to Meatloaf! ...and into the fire, fire....


The day Dan's ever present smile disappears...


Not done their homework adequately have they or perhaps they have not fully understood the implications of such a complex powertrain.

Well they need to get their act together fast for the teams they supply, and the teams, Red Bull in particular, need to rework the areas of the car that present critical issues.


Like Nico Rosberg said, the more you run on the track, the more you discover other issues and you can address them. The fact that Mercerdes and Ferrari have done a decent amount of laps, doesn't mean they did not encounter problems. But the good news in their case is that they know about them, and have probably already addressed those problems.

Can't wait for the next test to see what they fixed and also see what Lotus come up with.


Yeah good move by Lotus, maybe they had inside info, anyway it must have saved them wasting precious resources travelling to Jerez only to Sun-bathe!


The plain fact is that Lotus are behind and cash strapped. I hope they can recover in time.


Totally agree, the more laps you do, the more info and adjustment you can make. Spot on


The thing is with Mercedes and Ferrari any minor issues they had did not stop the wheels turning. They will of course have been monitoring all sorts of parameters and they will have a clearer picture of what they need to adjust/modify/improve. I expect the warmer climes in Bahrain will be very revealing too. The uncertainty this year is going to be great, and I'm expecting many teams to DNF in Australia.


From what I've heard Renault only had half the number of engineers compared to Merc and Ferrari working on the engines. The guys at Merc have been burning the midnight oil to get their engine ready and if you remember, in December they had a turbo failure on the dyno at Brixworth.

Renault's problems... 20 weeks to get fixed apparently according to this site http://wp.me/p2HWOP-mdf

Compared to Caterham Red Bull does not look that clever with their super aero efficiency 🙂 Oops! It's going to be a long slog for Vettel and Ricciardo this year!


Red Bull are adding an additional energy source to their system. It consists of a dual offset crank arrangement located at the drivers feet with a gear driving a segmented torque transmission device that delivers the additional energy to the rear differential.. 🙂


and now in english please 🙂


Brilliant....Newey has been spotted watching the Flintstones for further ideas.


I see what you did there!


''(..)determination to succeed (...)' As if they had any other option.


If you ever wondered what shit hitting a fan sounds like, you just heard it in Rob White's statement.


Have to admit, I always wondered....


Ha...translation of the above renault statement "we have not the foggiest clue what has caused these problems"


Up the faecal watercourse without a wooden implement indeed.


Ahaha 🙂


+ 1, I think Renault are in it up to their bottom lips, can't see them getting up to speed any time soon. They may have to go right back to the drawing board. Looks like lots of new customers for Honda!




It is just astounding how unprepared Renault have been at this stage. Their power unit was not ready for actual track testing at all AND they had no idea that they were not ready...


Complacency. They've taken their eye off the ball, while Mercedes and Ferrari have treated their new engines as the only hope of toppling Red Bull.

Sad for Daniel Ricciardo. Excellent for Formula 1. Vettel's F1 career just turned down Jacques Villenueve street. 🙂


Except that for Villeneuve, he has a few more titles to show for it. And I doubt it's the end of it. He could still go to a different team, something that many people wished for last year, and cream the competition again. What are you going to say then?


I'd probably say several four-letter words.

Unless another team builds him a super Vettel-mobile again, he won't win another championship. He has talent, but his talent only exists on a very narrow margin. This narrow margin has been a fantastic car built specifically to his driving style along with a team who favor him 100% over their other driver.

By contrast, Alonso is one of the most versatile Formula 1 drivers there has ever been. He can 99% of the time convey his talent even with inferior cars, achieving the best possible result (sometimes better) with the equipment he has.

If Alonso and Vettel raced each other in last year's Red Bull, Vettel would win every time. However, if they were to race each other in any other car on the grid, Alonso would win 9 times out of 10. This is why he has finished 2nd so many times in a car that shouldn't be there.

My essential point is that I don't think Vettel is likely to find a situation conducive to his requirements for success again at another team. Hence, the Jacques Villenueve analogy.


This would not be the first dog of an engine that Renault has built... Their 120 degree v-10 of about 10 years ago was a dismal failure.


Amazing that Renault have failed so spectacularly since Ferrari and Mercedes have started from the same base with essentially people just as smart as they are.

Let's hope Williams, Mercedes and McLaren swap points positions and podiums regularly early in the season at least - and let's hope Williams can keep up with Mercedes development through the season.


I gather James Allen has spent a lot of time at Mercedes during the winter months and has been throughly impressed with the level of professionalism and it's become clear they have risen to an altogether new level within F1. - They mean business and they serious mean to win. I think it's clear that Mercedes have done a very thorough job with the powertrain unit. Just watching Rosberg rack up lap after lap just reeks of professionism and they must be very happy so far.


Spot on Richard. The Brixworth lads and lasses have put a huge amount of effort into this new turbo compounding unit. Looks like that effort is reaping the reward. Well at least it's reliable so far............


Hopefully Williams has the money to compete. Mercedes has been spending big for 2014, while there is a lot of blank space on the Williams. Red Bull and Mercedes have been the biggest spending teams in 2012 and 2013, which had a large influence on the championship positions. Red Bull probably pushed the 2013 development for too long.


I think Williams issued a statement/tweet to the effect their test car was not displaying the full race livery and fans should not be concerned. Whether that's a cover story - who knows!


I agree Martin, hope Frank can get a bit more backing. Having said that, there are two positives for Frank - Big Rob and Pat Symonds. I've always rated Pat as a street-wise and savvy when it comes to aero, tactics and operational efficiency. Actually, that's one of Frank's strengths: they may be a small team (relatively) but that means they are a lighter, leaner, nimble more agile operators than a big but heavy, cumbersome team like, er..........well Red Bull at this moment in time! Did you know Martin that in 1979 and 1980 when Frank (and Patrick, and a certain chap called Ross actually) it had a team head-count of only 25 odd? Much smaller, both personnel and financial than the automotive giants of Alfa, Ferrari and Renault, yet still beat them! I know thats 35 years ago, but there's nothing like a street-wise, sharp on their feet, well organised team. Frank could be that.


They say they have vibration problems. I cannot imagine they set the engine up on the dyno and left it in that state. There must be an issue with the way suspension loadings are transferred through the gearbox distorting it enough to move a bearing out of line.


And no one thought "Hey, let's simulate how it will actually run when mounted in an actual F1 car"....?


To be fair jumping straight off the deep end with these new power units there was always a very real risk that we would see a debacle. F1 now risks being a laughing stock, they should have introduced this new technology gradually like the original turbo era.


no - they set it up and left it vibrating so much it broke itself and thought "great - job done"

Of course they thought about it! ... but as the cars did not exist they did not have enough data on the loads that would be generated under track conditions.

If they had had the knowledge they gained this week the problems wouldn't be there. Rumour has it the ferrari unit has been running around in one of their road cars. I wonder what testing Mercedes have done?


While teams can't win the championship in the first pre-season test, can you say whether they have just lost it?




I'm quite frankly startled at the lack of reliability from Renault Sport thus far. I've posted lots of comments on various forums on this, James's website, commenting on the superiority of European engineering and technology. Well, I still believe that, but Renault have either been dozy or very complacent. Probably a combination of both.

Having said that, what about the design of the Bull - does that have an influence on the dreadful breakages Sebastian and Dan have been having? Adrian and co are well known for packaging their cars tighter than Rod Stewart's spandex trousers. Perhaps - perhaps - they have gone a bit too close to the bone this time? If so, I'm still amazed - the aero crew surely would have known that the thermal discharge of the combined turbo engine/electrics would be vastly higher than the old "atmo" engines?

I've also posted comments previously that, for all Adrian's brilliance, he a few lemons in his back catalogue. The 1994 Frank-Regie was a twitchy thing to drive on the limit compared to the Benny used by Michael, and the 2001, 2002 and 2004 Macca's were total stinkers that were well and truly smashed in the face by the Ross and Michael guided Italian Stallion (with occasional cameo's by Rubens). Is it possible that both Adrian and Renault - unbelievably - have conjured up a total dud?


Huge opportunity to impress wasted, if Renault don't pull off a miracle, their reputation will be severely damaged, will they continue? Their heart hasn't really been in it for a few years now.


I think the fact that the Red Bull are suffering worse than other Renault powered cars pretty much nails it as a cooling issue as the main headache right now.

The other teams were able to do more and it's difficult to see why that should be a universal engine issue rather than a packaging one unless the Renualt unit is out of specification from that promised and the other cars have more contingency with cooling.

I posted this on another thread but it seems apt here.

"Red Bull struggling to keep a handle on the cooling in Jerez with an ambient of around 10°C is one thing, sorting it out for Bahrain in a couple of weeks times where they could face 30°C is going to present an even bigger challenge."


I would've expected RedBull to do much better than the other Renault powered teams, as RBR is the Renault works team. They had access to the engine from the begining to start the integration with the chassis.


I agree but something has gone wrong, hence my comment about the final product being out of specification.

Maybe the final iteration had modifications and fixes that threw up the heating issue against expectations.

Red Bull certainly had access to the engine as early as possible, but when did they get the final build?

It certainly seems impossible that they'd bring the car to the test knowing that the issue existed so I can only presume something blind sided them.

The fact that the other Renault teams *seemed* to have done better would tie in with them having not pushed the envelope of cooling as far as Red Bull and so got away with it to a certain extent.


Still early days. Renault is egine masters. Maybe merc and Ferrari had some secret car testing done... lol


You're right about Newey building a few dud cars as well, looking at 1994, 2004 and now 2014, has a pattern eh? Vettel will be a Ferrari or Mercedes driver if these Renault engines have a 5-10sec disadvantage.


If there's that big a disadvantage then the changing of the rules to stop Red Bull winning can be considered a success.


Heard Renault insisted on the changes or they leave. How ironical! How can changing the rules stop RB from winning anyway? Don't they have the same rules as others and way too much cash to spend?


1994 Newey's cars still won the constructor's even with the Hill/Coulthard combo.


Well spotted! If a year has a last number of 4, then the Newey mobile is a lemon.........are the stars wrongly aligned when there's a 4 year in for Adrian or something?


Hi Gaz,

A couple of things come to mind.

There was a comment I read that the engineering expertise at Red Bull tends to be in mechanical engineering more than electronic systems. The comment was from someone in Red Bull and it is a great simplification, but fluid dynamics and material science are where Red Bull has been the class of the grid.

I suspect you'll find that for all the money Red Bull has thrown at F1 - it has been the biggest spending team the last few years - none of it has gone to Renault. With the Mercedes Board's increased commitment to F1 and the team outspending Ferrari and McLaren, I suspect the Mercedes engine has had much more money poured into it than the Renault.

People highlight the skills of Newey, but money talks. Add the highly regarded management skills of Ross Brawn and you go a long way to producing winners.

Even with lots of resources and money, time is also important as wind tunnel and CFD calculation times are capped in the rules. If you start a design late and go too aggressive on cooling there isn't the time to iterate all the models until the sweet spot is hit.

I suspect Adrian Newey would have preferred the Ferrari engine approach with the heavier water-cooled turbo and using the team's material science skills to get the weight back down again.


Thank you Martin for your brilliant insight, again! Yes, somebody else has noticed that Ferrari's water jackets vary considerably from Renaults; that surely plays a part with the thermal discharge properties of the two manufacturers.


It's a pity Lotus was not around to benchmark with. But we'll see in two weeks time if Lotus has similar problems.


Not so sure about the heat issue. Newey has always gone for tight packaging but I would have thought that with 50Kg less fuel for a race and a slower flow rate the heat should be less. The issue is not how much heat but about where it is at any time... like the batteries that Newey has always hated.


Well said...


i totally agree with your point regarding the tight packaging.. Red bulls problems are a mixture of poor engine and poorer car design.. caterham managed to do some running in a renault engine on day 4.. I believe we will see a vastly different looking red bull at bahrain or later.. also it seems that the true turnaround time for a total fix is between 15-20 weeks.. i guess red bull will be trying even harder to lobby the vertically challenged one for double points in the last three races..


1) All the engines are european...

2) Talk English...


1. My point was, in case you didn't understand, that European technology is best in the world, so for Regie not to come upto scratch is surprising. I know Honda are comimg back next year, but until they do I can't give anything other than supposition on their turbo engine.

2. Sorry to be pedantic my dear friend, but this is a WRITTEN forum, so technically I was WRITING english, not SPEAKING english. You need to get your adjectives correct! Good job you don't work in PR in F1!


Yes, my mistake, well spotted Rafa! Having said that I was correct this being a WRITTEN forum, not a TALKING forum. Gosh, imagine all the shouting and screaming if it was.........I'd probably be louder than the F1 engines!


writing and speaking are actually verbs


There have been a lot of red bull failures in past years mostly for webber so this wouldn't be the first they are just usually so fast it doesn't matter over a season


Mostly for webber.. What? looks like you watch f1 since 2013 or something. Vettel had much more DNFs in their 5 years as teammates at red bull.

Ignorant, media brainwashed people everywhere it seems.


Erm media brainwashed people like Adrian Newey who stated Webbers physical size as a major compromise on packaging and resulting in the lions share of KERS failures for the larger driver?

Before you throw out insults check your facts.


The point is that they cannot afford an ERS failure as the loss of power would put them at the back of the grid in short measure, moreover since the failure mode is likely to be overheat currently they would be forced to stop for safety reasons.


You know what is funny? It was Renault pushing FIA to change engines otherwise they were leaving the sport.


Hah - good point! A case of "Be careful what you wish for".


Funny i seem to recall that too. I expected better since they kept pushing for these changes


I suspect there's a clue in that though. Renault is looking for a stronger return on investment and greater connection with its road cars. Mercedes is throwing lots of money at F1 as a branding exercise, and so has probably greatly out-spent Reanualt.


They are under stating the problem, imo. They still need to research exactly what the issues are, how to fix them and manufacture the relevant parts and then test them in the car. A temporary solution may be possible but it could take them months to get it right.

I've seen some interesting interviews with Kobayashi and Erikkson's manager online and Kobayashi said he isn't surprised as Caterham have been told that Renault have been missing their targets in the factory.

Must be hard for them to see Mercedes looking so strong.


Come on, guys... RELAX!!! (Tealeaf, Sebee, etc)


Even with a dog of an engine/car he can win nine out of ten races due to his incredible skills, his awesome raw speed, his race management.




To be honest Vettel is the best driver out there its nice for Hamilton fans to gloat but to do it in this manner and stage of the season is all abit premature, fine Renault might have way too much to do at this stage to recover and win the title for Redbull but yes every sarcastic comment you made there are actually true, if Seb's car can hold up in the race I'm sure he and Dan will still stand out and be in the points by mid season, and this will drive Vettel to Ferrari.

I wonder what your excuses will be this year if Hamilton loses yet again probably to the Ferrari drivers, Magnusson and maybe even his team mate, I suspect the usual F1 bashing will start, I think its good for F1 that Redbull has been stemmed, you never know Raikkonen might yet wake up and go into 2005 mode and show Alonso what speed is, Vettel needs a couple of midfield seasons but if anyone thinks he won't be back and winning more titles needs an IQ test.


1) I'm an Alonso fan.

2) VET is not crazy to go to Ferrari (Ferrari is a huge MESS).

3) Of course he will be back, as long as he has again a car that is two *SECONDS* faster. Anyone would. right???

ALO did a great job (beaten 02 Mercs, 02 Lotus and 01 RBR) with a really bad car. Let's see what VET can do.


Please point out when Vettel has had anywhere near two seconds of an advantage through car performance. You will enjoy the sport much more if you stop venting your spleen over a mythical mega-car advantage, because then everything stops looking unfair and starts looking competitive instead.


"ALO did a great job (beaten 02 Mercs, 02 Lotus and 01 RBR) with a really bad car."

Unfortunately the Ferrari was never as bad as people made out.


In the current situation what Vettel is likely to do is pull off the race track in short order.


Vettel like any other driver is dependant on his engineers and designers. The emphasis this year has shifted from aeronautics to powertrain reliability, and output! - No wonder Horner does not like this as the shift is to an area where they do not not excel. If Red Bull in the previous formula had a weakness it was KERS an area that this year has to be foolproof to stand any chance. So I think it is going to be dire for Red Bull unless Newey is willing to compromise his shape to get a higher air flow rate around their energy store. At the moment they are cooking batteries! Indeed Vettel has been consistent, but he has been helped enormously by his designer who now appears to be out of his depth.


now you will be banging on about how he is still a genius and Alonso/ Button/Rosberg or whoever wins is just Ithe best car and the poor little boy is doing a fine job with the equipment he has.


Not if his car is on the side of the track in a cloud of steam!



He can win races with a car that can't run more than 10 laps?


and much expected from the anti-Vettel-crowd, so Vettel is suppose to design and make the engines too??


No. Read again.

He is supposed to win with a *good* car (not a super car - 2sec faster than the others).

We will see.


So when the car breaks down (engine related) he's still suppose to win. Man, I have'nt heard anything more crazy, but now that I've read the other comments and I saw you admit to being an Alonso fan, it all makes sense.

Point 1: Alonso actually had a good car for 2 out of the last 4 years. His car NEVER broke down (engine related). Well...maybe once.

Point 2. The car overheating in testing has absolutely no bearing on Vettel as a driver, so I really don't understand why you posted this in the first place...

Point 3: Vettel never ever had a "super-car", or else Webber would have finish every year 2nd best. What happened was that during the course of the year he would tune and help develop the car to his liking, and be at one with the car. Never in the last 4 years was the car actually 2 seconds faster than any rival car, except for extraordinary circumstances that happened in Singapore. I get the feeling you only ever watched that race last year and hope I'm wrong...


Yeah, you just keep telling Adrian and Renault boys that.



Do know if any of the engine suppliers ran their power units in actual cars (test mules) prior to installations in the F1 cars for Jerez?

There was that tantalizing video of a Ferrari making the rounds awhile back with a suspiciously "new F1" sound to it.


No other that I'm aware of


Ferrari in the road car but I've not heard of the other two doing it


Random thought James? 😉


No, a reply to a question about running powertrain in a road car. Ended up on its own for some reason!


Hope you are not running Renault software James.


In answer to?


I'm not sure why Renault didn't do the same. They've done it before with Prost in Renault Espace.

Looks like Renault are grossly under prepared for the change. While Red Bull's packaging may have contributed to the problem, I don't doubt if the Renault power unit were integrated with any other team down the pitlane, they would also have problems - cooling or otherwise.

Will you be digging deeper into this issue James by any chance?


...Do YOU know...


Renault Sport F1 Deputy Managing Director Rob White soon to be Ex Renault Sport F1 Deputy Managing Director Rob White.

Incredible really - I would have expected this from Cosworth (or maybe that's unfair) but Renault should be on top of this.


Looks like Renault are having a Pirelli moment...

The Italian tyre company must be relieved that for now at least, someone else is taking the heat in Formula One.


Yeah, but Renault wasn't told to build an engine that fell apart after 10 laps.

Apparently they decided that on their own. 🙂


Best laugh I have had all day!



Awesome comment


Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha!!!!


I shouldn't laugh, but I do...


Supposedly, reliability changes to the engines should still be possible even after the end of February. Or would the FIA 'slow walk' those updates in order to get to the preferred outcome at seasons end?

I'm seeing a lot of chatter about Newey's packaging, but the truth is the Renault engines have been so poor that its difficult to evaluate the cars running them. RB are the Renault 'works team', the team they work most closely with, so it strains belief to suggest that they were not aware of the chassis configuration Newey was working on.


True, but they have a problem with airflow around the energy store (ie they are cooking batteries). It's fundamental to the formula, and finishing races. If they overheat batteries they will have to retire on safety grounds.


If they overheat batteries they will have to retire on safety grounds....


oops, didn't finish my post!

Meant to say, we can only hope - best all keep our fingers crossed.

It's too funny really. Red Bull is reputed to have the largest budget in F1 currently and they can't make a car that runs more than a lap or two without catching fire :-).

Better still, their #1 driver has publicly stated he believes double points for the last race is an absurd idea. Meanwhile the teams best friend, Bernie, is trying to garner support for double points for the last 3 races - an idea that I suspect is starting to look very appealing for the Bulls. Quite how they will all perform the necessary volte-face should be interesting to watch.

Happy days indeed 😉


Indeed Richard. Imagine this: "Car No.1 is being black flagged for setting fire to parts of the track!" Just midly joking, of course.............mind you Adrian isn't at the moment!


There's a lot being said all over the internet of the "someone might have overheard an unidentified Renault employee say" sort, and I'm not really inclined to believe any of it at this point.

It certainly seems Renault don't have much of a clue what's going on at the moment, but one site is claiming they heard someone from Renault say it'd be a 20 week fix. That to me sounds more like an arbitrarily picked number at this point.

Another is that apparently Renault aren't happy with how RB have mounted the power unit. Would RB not have people from Renault working with them? I find it hard to believe they all turned up to the test, Renault saw the RB10 and went, "That's not how you mount the thing! We sent you the instruction manual, what are you doing?!"


I think it's fair to say Nick that Bull and Regie are in a bit of a Anglo-French pickle.


Lets see when Lotus go on track.


so it strains belief to suggest that they were not aware of the chassis configuration Newey was working on...

I am sure you are correct. What I find more extraordinary is, despite what must have been extremely close collaboration, they still manage to produce a car that can't manage more than a lap or two before starting to catch fire.


There are two ways of looking at it. One would be Red Bull at fault for inadequate cool air flow, or Renault for inadequate heat transfer/dissipation surfaces on the battery packs. The truth probably lies somewhere in between, but Newey is not a powertrain engineer and has most likely sliced his cake too thin.


If after two years of work they still aren't ready, then they won't be ready.


Actually two years on a completely new engine and auxiliaries is not long, and it also depends on the resource available. I expect it will run in Melbourne, but perhaps not competively or reliably.


"Don't count your chickens before they are hatched" - so Red Bull will come back for sure.


It's early days yet and whilst it has put Renault and their teams on the back foot, I'd be surprised if the Mercedes/Ferrari power units didn't experience some major problems as they start increasing the revs.

I don't think Renault have been dozy or complacent, but probably relied too much on dyno results rather than adding in the additional risks involved with actual running and installation, in the way that some teams were overly reliant on CFD.


James, do you think there is any truth to the rumours that the engine may take 15-20 weeks to get right?


There's as much truth to it as to the earlier exclusive information by the same site that the Renault's problem was crankshafts.

It was so exclusive that no-one except this site knew that, including Renault and Renault-powered teams...


He mentioned a month ago that Renault had problems and again on monday that they wouldn't be running much because of vibrational issues...He's been correct so far so I'm inclined to believe him, much like when he said Kimi had signed a contract already or that Lotus would be using passive DRS at Silverstone 2013 (which they did end up using).


@BW. It's not once in a while, it's pretty much week in week out 🙂 This place, his site and Scarbs/somers are the must read F1 sites for me.


Once in a while one might get right which doesn't mean you can assume one is right in any particular case.


I think that the concept of Renault is much advanced than Mercedes or Ferrari. Therefore it takes longer to develop. The trick of Red Bull and Renault is smart. They will give up this year championship to dominate in the following years with a superior concept. The Renault engine will not be reliable and the FIA will let them continue developing thier engine whiles the Mercedes and Ferrari engines are frozen based on an inferior concept. Rob statement points to this strategy by saying change is not forbidden . This strategy was applied during the V8 era.


Maybe when Renault get their engine sorted it will do 100 miles to the gallon!


It's possible and that's why it's silly to make such bold conclusions so early.. even if they sacrificed the first 3 months of the season, it's a long road. This year, then the next and on and on..


I'm not so sure Martin. Renault have made excellent engines in the atmo era (1989-2013) but then atmo engines are a proven quantity. French engineering isn't as good as German, British or even Italian when it comes to implementing complex technology - historically, Mercedes has been the leader of new ideas with it's S-Class. That engineering pedigree filters down its motor sport division. I'm not saying Frenchies are incompetent, but when it comes to build quality of new technology, stick with the Anglo-Saxon's of Britain and Germany.


Before the testing the big question was which team finds the biggest loop hole in the new regulations. We all know that Adrian is a master at package a car aerodynamically and Red Bull are great in finding loop holes in the regulation. The question for Adrian to me is should he give up pace to meet the thermal conditions the Renault engine needs or should Renault develop the engine to meet the thermal conditions given by the aerodynamical constraints. Given the rules that charges to the engine are allowed after homologation deadline it would not be wise to compromise on aerodynamics because once the Renault have developed the engine to meet the thermical constraints given by the aerodynamical constraints the car will be 0.5 to 1 second faster than the competition. I believe that the other teams have compromised on aerodynamics to meet the homologation deadline. It would be interesting if a Formel one engineer could comment about this being a possible loop hole which the FIA did not think about. By the way I am not a Red Bull or Vettel fan but you have to give credit to the guys who have dominated Formel one and will continue to.


Your 2 posts on this subject do make alot of sense Martin, personally I hope you're right


Why are you talking about badges??? The S class has nothing to do with the engines in Brixworth, they're as far apart as the engine in a Monaro VXR and the Buick leather seat, and to be honest Mercedes are not actually as advanced as you think, they might cram as much gimmick into the new S class but is that car in actual truth more advanced than the Toyota hybrids? Or is has it got a better drive train than a Range Rover?


you really ought to try and relax a bit - I am sensing quite a lot of tension in your posts lately.


You must be joking, Merc has proven its self over and over again on the streets. It has thrashed competition in every turn. Reliability has being its greatest trait.


Sorry TL, let me clarify, I was just using the S-class as an analogy, not a literal comparison. What I mean is British and German engineering AND build quality is better at constructing/implementing new complex technology than the French. I don't want to get into national stereotypes, but we all know French engineering and cars can be a bit flaky, particularly with electrical infidelity. I hope that explains my essay. I think we both agree that Regie is well behind the 8-ball at this very moment, and they have been well and truly out-performed thus far. Having said that, I think both Bull and Regie are complicit in the Jerez shambles as I do wonder if the Bull's packaging is so tight it doesn't allow for the thermal discharge of the new turbo/electrical to be got rid out of problem, which explains cooling problems. Possibly.


Never thought id say maurussia have built a more reluable car than the bulls phahahahaha!!!!

Why is it that I love this....


Must I remind you that Chilton was the first rookie to complete a full season.


Yes Murussia in 6th position certainly cheered this old guy up, as my son works for the team in the wind tunnel.


It's not really that hard to believe. Red Bull have never really had great reliability. Before the Vettel days it seemed like they were retiring every other race. And even in more recent times, think of all the problems Webber has had, the times Vettel has DNF'd from the race lead, etc.


It does seem that Australian drivers do take the brunt of Bull's breakdowns.........I suppose because Dan is a level headed, stoical chap he saying to himself "early days son" but at the same time he's also thinking "damm, wish I could have done a few laps without the stupid thing breaking down!"




We probably don't know the half of it. Bet there are serious adult diaper changes going on.Truly and utterly embarrassing for Renault, Red Bull and their sponsors.

It is getting VERY interesting isn't it. Mercedes obviously has spent lots of time planning and getting their heads around this new package and it shows. Renault has some serious catching up to do, they seemed to struggle with Kers several times last year and of course alternator issues as well. It makes me wonder if electronic problems are indeed their weak point. I beleieve they no longer have it all their way and with less downforce toys for Newey means we got us a good Engine Race...lol

Go Massa

Go McLaren

Go Mercedes


I find it ironic that it was renault who pushed for smaller turbo engines in F1 (and even threatened to quit the sport at one point) as large V8's dont translate to their road car business....at the time the likes of ferrari had reservations.....

Its funny that their F1 attempt does in fact translate to thier road car business....as poor reliability!

This is why id never buy a french car, always top of the warranty claim list


We have 3 french cars and they do indeed break down all the time. Should take notice for the future.


off topic. we also have 1 italian (fiat) car and it also breaks down every other week haha ^^


Be careful what you wish for 😉

Think also of McLaren and Honda. The former are surely going to be relieved the Merc power unit is playing ball at the moment and nervous about going through it all again next year with Honda. I suspect the budget at Honda to develop their engine has just gone up; failure of this kind in Japan would surely mean some people falling on their swords?


My RS225 is rock solid beast .. haha


Probably right up until you wrote the above 🙂


Good point.


Software (driveability) kings Renault have trouble with their software. Engineers in all the teams will now "control the mapping" (according to Tost). No wonder Vettel looks gloomy - he'll be driving what everyone else is driving (or worse). With mapping controlling the driving - guess who loses? that would be F1


Poor old Red Bull!

I think the word I am looking for is schadenfreude.

Garcon, another glass of champagne, if you please .


hahahah!!! +1.000.000

The worse for RBR, the better.


So, you wouldn't rather beat them by being better?


Reliability is a fundamental requirement. Obviously a car needs to be quick, but unless it's reliable as well, it's not much use. Plenty of championships have been won and lost due to reliability, or lack thereof. I wouldn't be quite so dismissive of it's importance if I were you.

Remember, to finish first, first you must finish. Or in Red Bulls case (based on this first test) to finish first, first you must start 😉

Anyway, I digress. You claimed there is no merit in winning unless it's by being better. Clearly Red Bulls opposition , thus far, have done a better job. So, as I requested in my earlier post, please explain why doing a better job on aero development, for instance, counts as being better yet building/packaging a better power unit does not. Surely it's all part of the same game. After all, it is called motor sport, maybe there is a clue there 🙂


They are being better! Better at powertrain design and installation rather than aeronautics.



Beaten by being more reliable isn't much to gloat about though is it?


In what way, pray tell, are Red Bulls opposition not doing a better job?

So far as I can see it's all merit, whether its aero, electronics, computing or mechanical. QED, beaten by being better 😉


I can understand people wanting to see someone else at the top of F1, especially after RB taking both titles four years running. What I don't understand is people being happy that it might happen like this. I'd rather see Red Bull fighting as a front runner but being beaten in the end by whoever else.


In an ideal world, I would like to see the Red Bulls grind to a halt 1 metre from the finish at the last race of the season, thereby losing the vital points they required for both championships. I would like to see their fans in despair at this cruel twist of fate and their Fairy Godfather (DM) withdraw his support for the team, such was his disappointment. However, for now, I will take the Red Bull misfortune at the first test of the season as a starter.

Garcon, another glass of your finest champagne!


I think unreliability will drag them out of contention well before then, who knows, but the uncertainty is great.


love the idea


He's/she's probably a fan of another car/driver than RBR/Vettel. At least would I qualify his/her comment in that context.


+1 to schadenfreude


I'm happy to see problems at this stage. Its an indication they are on the limit of technology, which is one of the things I want to see in this sport.


Not to be just cynical, but cynical and twisted..what if Bernie slipped a few quid to Renault and a nod to Horner so that RB start the season horribly. It looks like we have a competitive season. However, after the summer break RB are fast, reliable and Seb wins the last 3 uber-points races thereby winning the championship as underdogs?

Drama, suspense and great end of season TV ratings. Thanks, Bernie! 😉


What seems a bit odd is that there wasn't some 'failsafe' mode that the cars could run in with a lot of the bits disabled, even if it was just to get the cars some aero testing once the engine problem was determined to be intractable..


Why is everyone so reactionary? Clearly RB have a history of pushing limits in the pursuit of excellence, compared to say Ferrari who pursue a 'best we can do' model based on the fact they are Ferrari. (Which often has been enough). Red Bull had to innovate to win. It is in their DNA, and it has served them well in the past. I would rather have a car that on the first day of testing didn't work, but in 18 months time ran 2 seconds faster than anyone. Let Alonso win the title by finishing 3rd in every race, good for him. Renault cars will probably win the title from 2015-18 as they have taken a risk.


It's French. If anything it will be very complicated, highly innovative and in years to come be landmark piece of engineering.

And more cantankerous than an angry PM's wife...


Look, Reneault were initially disingenuous with the media. They claimed on Wednesday they had an overnight fix.

This guy posted on Monday, that the Renault teams had been advised to only do 250k this weekweem.http://t.co/72fFumX2Pf

We'll worth following this site. Tweeted Red Bull going home 2 hours before mainstream had it today!


James, isn't Renault's engine the most expensive to buy for customer teams? compared to ferrari and mercedes?


That's debatable as details are not known.

apparently renault price includes track support and integration, while merc and ferrari price is engines only.


the track support is most definitely needed at this point!


Yes, I understand that is right


Blimey, what a waste of extra money at this moment in time!


Is anyone else already tired of the new engines being called "power units"? It sounds nerdy and unfamiliar to ordinary people. A hybrid engine is still an engine, any complex mechanical device can be called an "engine", even my laser printer has a print "engine", so these new "power units" should just be called engines. This jargon is just one more annoyance making F1 weird, along with the noses.


Nothing new about it. I worked in "Powertrain" for many years which included thing like engine, auxiliaries, gearbox, and final drive. It's just F1 playing with words really. I also recall working on direct injection at least 25 years ago so it's taken this long for F1 to catch up in that area.


I did some work with Rover and Rolls Royce at the University of Warwick back in the late 90's, and they were talking about power trains back then - it is not a new phrase in the auto motive industry.


Ordinary people do not call a bruise a contusion, bleeding hemmoraging, or a dog canis familiaris, even though those are proper terms in the subject. Nor will they say to each other "power unit" for engine, it makes F1 embarrassing to talk about and exclusive to techie dorks rather than making it comfortable for ordinary people to be fans. It's like giving someone a textbook written in jargon rather than a novel in the vernacular, which are they going to want to sit in a chair and spend 2 hours with?


The whole is far more than just an engine, an engine just being part of the unit. Powertrain is correct.


Quite shocking that Renault is in this position trying to solve their massive problems. I thought by the fourth day they would've solved at least 50% or more, now its more than real serious from the reports.

Anyway let's hope they will be fine for the first race for an interesting season ahead.


Not that RB can do much about Renault's woes but from RB's perspective they will knock out a B Spec chassis in no time. I have absolutely no doubt that RB will be right up there at the pointy end in no time, assuming the engine isn't a total dud...

Bring on Bahrain.


Red Bull and Torro Rosso should've gone for different engine manufacturers as they have always had...especially from this year onwards to hedge their bets.


It's newey horner vettel out dominecalli Allison Alonso in


It's renault out, ferrai/merc in. Not much RB can do about it if renault is failing. But I wouldn't expect you to understand.


And Raikkonen...Hopefully also Hamilton, Rosberg, Massa, Button and Magnusen all in to make it exciting.


I actually hope that this plays out as a difficult year (or two) for Red Bull and Vettel. It would show whether Vettel has the ability to be a 'true' champion - not someone that can simply drive a very fast car consistently quickly, but whether he can drag a poor car through a season and achieve the best possible result.

Didn't start well, though, did it? Left the circuit as quickly as possible after day 2. Perhaps he had an important appointment organised.

Let's hope that we get a 'same rules for everyone' year and that the Puppet Masters don't interfere by allowing dubious engine changes after end Feb cut off, bringing in double points for last 3 races, determining that any rear suspension arms not designed by Adrian Newey are illegal, etc, etc!

Wish it was testing again next week!


".. whether he can drag a poor car through a season and achieve the best possible result."

Right, because, not having followed the 2007 or 2008 seasons, we have absolutely no clue how Vettel would look in a bad car, do we?

I really despair about F1 fans sometimes.


"Let’s hope that we get a ‘same rules for everyone’ year and that the Puppet Masters don’t interfere by allowing dubious engine changes after end Feb cut off,"

But if one engine is more powerful than the other how is that the same for everyone?

Not that I agree with the rules being so tight, they should be allowed to do whatever they want as long as a its a 1.6 litre turbo.


Indeed, changing diapers of his newborn daughter.


I reckon four titles in a row, one of only three people to do it, with a team that had never won a race before and consistently obliterating his teammate qualifies him as a 'true' champion.


There was nothing left for vettel to do in jerez at that point, why would he stay? It's not like he would learn something new, would he? Ricciardo managed a total of 9 (!) laps in next 2 day.

Why didn't alonso come on tuesday when kimi was banging in the laps? Surely he had an important meeting going on.


There was nothing left for vettel to do in jerez at that point, why would he stay?...

He could have sat around looking glum with his teammates 🙁 Maybe he wanted to get home and dip his balls in the swimming pool!


Who said Alonso wasn't there in case Kimi was sick or something? Lewis stayed around and jumped in the last on day 4, even thought it was Nico's day.



I would imagine it was to make up for Lewis losing out when the wing broke on Tuesday. McLaren gave Jenson some of Kevins time as they didn't get any running on the first day.


Seems a bit greedy to take the car away from Nico on his day, doesn't it?


Yes I thought it strange that vettel didn't hang around for the remainder of the test. Had they got the car running properly he might have been able to get some laps. Maybe he realised the problems were too severe to be fixed at the track?


It looks troubling but I am not passing any judgement until Bahrain. If similar reliability (or big lap time differences) are present again there then the Renault teams might as well be written off as 9/10/11th in WCC.

I'm hoping Massa and Bottas can grab some podiums in the Williams!


I think Frank could be in for a resurrection of sorts this year with that Merc V6, so yes, Frank drivers could be spraying some Mumm....


Most of the issues have to be with the tight packaging Adrian kinda demands.

To an extent it is sad seeing a Torro Rosso or a Redbull going out and braking down immediately.

To an extent I am a little glad, because when I have said before that RB is spoiling this sport with their aero innovations, tight ass cars channeling farting gasses, a lot of people labeled me old fashioned. Well Formula 1 is a "motor"sport!

Finally when the sport comes back to senses and mix in a lot of changes with the "Motor" part we see this from RedBull. Yes the Renault power unit has to be blamed, but it goes beyond that. They are having more problems than the rest of the Renault Customers.

And something which angers me more is Christian Horner now talking about the costs. Saying the new engines came at the wrong time! And he "Feels" for the customer teams now! Suddenly as if the world is gonna end!

Even so, I am sure we can't write them off. Whatever I say always comes and bites me at the back all the time 😛

They've been given a chance to bounce back, if they can't well it proves my point. They can only win with Fart Gasses!

I am not a Redbull hater. It was sad for me also seeing their nightmare test. I did not have any problems about Redbull winning all the time. The problem is with the arrogance that comes along after the winning that deserves a BOOO!!


This is great news (reddull having difficulties)! Maybe we will at last have the chance to see how VET fares with a car that, for whatever reason, is 2-4th fastest throughout the season rather than up to one second ahead.

Statistics (2010-13) are available for how ALO performed in exactly that situation. Will the four titles prove to be a blessing or a nightmare - was it really VET or 90% the car that did beat the opposition? Exciting seasons ahead for mr VET.

I see quite a few are already assuming RB have already lost, which proves nothing but that people in general cannot count beyond 3. They only remember the most recent events. What happened before that, is somehow "gone"/not valid anymore. Take a look at statistics for what RB have achieved last four years...or their budget...or the names (still) working for them. Way too early days to draw any conclusions how any team will perform.


I assume you just started watching F1 in 2010, because the information you say you seek is readily available.

When Alonso had a car which qualified 9th on average, in 2009, he looked .... pretty unimpressive.

When Vettel had a car which qualified 11th on average, in 2008, he looked quite good.


Non-sense!! Sebastian Vettel has not won anything in his Formula 1 career starting from below 3rd place on the grid! And that too even with the fastest car last year. Can you say that for Alonso? Well nope... Can you say that for any other World champion on the grid... well nope.. everyone else including Jenson Button (whom is rated the least among champions) has won at the very least 1 grand prix starting from below 3rd on the grid! Yeah he is a 4 time WDC and he has broken a lot of records. This fact is one of the most ignored by everybody! The boy just revels in a fast car that has downforce by exhaust blowing!! the boy is fast and has talent! Nobody can deny that. Let him win in a car that is qualified 4th on the Grid at least.. AT THE VERY LEAST!! Then we'll call him impressive.


I have been around long enough to at least have seen ALO beat RAI and SCH to titles when VET was still driving cars at "kinder garden", so do not worry about that detail.

"When Alonso had a car which qualified 9th on average, in 2009, he looked …. pretty unimpressive."

The 2009 Renault finished as 9th constructor. It was not only slow, but also unreliable as ALO had 9 DNFs out of 17 races that year - yet he finished 9th overall out of 20 drivers. I would not call that unimpressive.

"When Vettel had a car which qualified 11th on average, in 2008, he looked quite good."

The ToroRosso was 6th in the constructors in 2008, compared to Renault being 9th in 2009. VET finished 8th overall. Yea, very impressive...

Anyways, if you believe VET has it, you should not have any reason to worry if his package proves consistently slower than the fastest...time will tell.


Vettel has never been as impressive looking or perhaps exciting is the correct phrase as Hamilton in those first two years. It maybe that Vettel has now had his run, his roll of the dice, because that's what it is in F1. It's about when all the elements conspire to let you win as Vettel and Schumacher before, both undoubtably great drivers, but the earth has moved conspiratorally to change what elements will give victory. This year I think we have, I'm relieved to say a good almighty battle on out hands, and who actually knows where the teams are. - I think McLaren are looking handy, but that might simply be that Mercedes have not yet turned the wick up. It would also be good to see Williams in the top five. - They certainly did themselves a favour choosing the Merc power unit.


Its kinda of astonishing that people have already written off a 4 time wc winning team and engine manufacturer after just a few days of winter testing. Sure this news from Renault is quite shocking given the amount time/ money theyve invested.. Its not inconceivable that they find the solution by Bahrain or at worst Melb.

Im sure that collaboratively these problems can be resolved & we know how well Red Bull can recover. Sure this might not end up being their year ( we can only hope) but there is only one way for them and the ither Renault powered teams from here !- Im encouraged at least many teams Williams an especially Marussia have a fighting chance in the mid pack or possibly better.


We don't like one team dominance, and this year it seems the elements have changed to give use a far more interesting year. Who knows who going to come out on top, but I sort of feel it will be a Mercedes powered car.


Nobody's written RB off....we are just rejoicing today. They might still win...but today is a good day and so why not to be happy?


Im happy but I wont rejoice before the season starts and Seb is regularly in top 3 again !


So, what have we learnt after four days? Well, if your car is painted silver powered by a Merc V6 you're going literally in the right direction and a constant direction too apart from Lewis early front axle/brake/suspension problem which was easy to rectify. The Italian stallions are running well, reliable, unspectacular so far, but solid. Frank with Merc V6 and the leading blokes of Vatty, Phil, Big Rob (joining in March) and Pat Symonds can do some good business this year. Frank joining up with Brixworth lads and lasses was a potentially very shrewd call. As for Toro and Bulls..........oh dear, oh dear. Not so much charging bulls as knackered old cows. Well down to Daniel for doing an impression of an old kettle as well! I beat Adrian today (1 Feb) has called an extraordinary general meeting with both Milton Keynes and Paris for as soon as possible..............


Hi James and the Team! This is off topic but I don't know where else to ask you guys; anyway I know you are planning on a re-vamp/design/upgrade of your website which I'm sure will be fantastic!

I had some thoughts about accessibility of content and practicality on smart phone because I'm mostly accessing your website through my Iphone and so I was wondering if you guys have been thinking about creating a smart phone application?

Cheers and thanks for all your hard work!


In the meantime, if you're looking for a new wallpaper for your phone:




We have a plan for mobile,which we are excited about, yes


Clearly not a good start for Renault - and while they and Red Bull are sorting things out the others will be developing their cars. But we shouldn't forget that Renault have won the World Constructors Championship 12 times in the past 18 championships they've contested (1992-97, 2005-06, 2010-13 having not contested the championship in 1998-2001). They've got pedigree! And I say this as a McLaren fan....


If I recall back in the 80's when turbos were first introduced, Renault had major issues for the first season but they soon got over it, albeit at the end of that season. I am sure Renault will get ontop of it alot faster this time round.

On another vein I am so looking forward to seeing Williams at the sharp end of the pack this season. Always good to see the underdog persevere and gain ground.


It's so in French style. Most expensive but not the best.


Haven't Red Bull/ Renault always suffered with problems in the past with KERS and other electronic faults compared to other teams?


Only Webber....


Actually I can remember when it happened to Vettel, Valencia 2012, Monza 2012, Germany 2013 and Japan qualifying immediately spring to mind.


Every one criticised Alonso for saying "you can only judge Vettel when he has a similar car to the rest, then his four titles will be bad news". This season will be either the making or breaking of Vettel. This is similar to Senna in 93, dog of a car after years of dominance and he won races to become one of the greatest of all time. I feel we will soon have the answer is he lucky or one of the greats?


The McLaren was a long, long way from being a "dog of a car" in 1993. It was the "best of the rest" after Williams.


We already know the answer. He had the best car and he is a good driver. No, he is not the GOAT.


If Redbull end up winning the first race, there will be so many tears.


If Red Bull win at Melbourne, they can re name themselves Lazarus.........


And Williams 🙂


As can McLaren 😉


Time and time again when I read these threads I'm amazed at how quickly, and on such flimsy evidence, people jump to conclusions and/or write drivers and manufacturers off.

They say a week is a long time in politics but I reckon it's an even longer time in F1.


Speaking for myself, I am not writing off anyone's chances. I am merely enjoying the misfortunes of a team I do not support, while it lasts 😎


Having an engine that doesn't work is different from having a car that is far off the pace. Even as a Red Bull Racing fan, I don't mind if the car is off the pace, Vettel will make up whatever differences his rivals did in the past. His ability to qualify, start, and race well and consistently will ensure he's always up there. If Alonso is not known as Mr. Saturday and Hamilton is not known as Mr. Consistent, Vettel will shine through the "interesting times coming for Sebastian" as Alonso put it.


Well you will mind if hes running outside the top 8 and if the car is 1 sec off the pace thats where anyone will end up - regardless of how good you drive. Seb is a great driver that can find a few tenths with a near limitless grip rear end -he is yet to prove anything in a car with relatively less downforce and rear end grip.


2007,2008 & 2010 anything else.. So what


Yes, it would be quite a different experience going to a race and not seeing him on the podium let alone close to it. I understand you like most people need to see him do something special in an inferior car AFTER he won his titles.

Even as a Vettel fan in 2010 I was actually screaming at Red Bull for not using team orders to let Mark past Seb. I really thought Seb was done and Mark was the best hope. Then Seb went and won the title. To me, if he could do that and his driving wasn't even up to the standard of Alonso's that year and he was that young, he can do anything.


Did you watch F1 in 2007 and 2008?


"he is yet to prove anything in a car with relatively less downforce and rear end grip."

Is it that people started watching F1 in 2010 as EBD started then or what?

As the Toro Rosso did not have EBD and he performed well, so I really don't understand your point.


James. About your headline.

Rob White actually said he would come up with a 'more definitive' solution for Bahrain.

Now of course, something is either definitive or it isn't, wouldn't you agree?

From the tone of his release, I don't think his expectations are that high.


I think the FIA has created a monster here - the first major issue will be whether or not the GP of Australia even goes ahead - totally on the opposite side of the planet from the shops. Even if the race goes ahead the attrition will be enormous. You can't produce a gong show of this magnitude under the spotlight of a world audience.


An ex F1 mechanic friend of mine, who worked (a long way) under Newey, said that he packaged everything so tightly, that they always had huge thermal issues with his cars. An example quoted, was they had to change the material they wrapped the loom in, as the heat was getting through and causing electrical failures. Have you heard this in the pit lane James?

I guess it's the same as drives, the ones on the edge are more likely to crash, but once they hit the sweet spot, they unbeatable. Newey doesn't consider conservatism 🙂


Yes of course; It's well known.


So from 4 customers teams, with Red Bull as their official works team, they had no realistic and workable understanding of how their engines would be mounted and function in an actual F1 car! Really...?

If it was one or two teams with problems on one or two days, one could say 'yes that's the expected teething problems' like Merc had with McLaren had on day one. But this was not the case, this was 4 teams with problems in all 4 cars on all 4 days of the test. Renault were simply not prepared to run their power units in an actual car and they had no clue that that was the case.

I am sure they will fix it and become competitive, but I think some changes need to be made in their operational structure because someone is dropping the ball and neither they, nor those around them can see what they are dropping.


James why does the system sometimes not post replies in the conversation threads but instead post them as separate posts here at the bottom? There is an error happening and worst of all I now can't post the replies where they are supposed to be at all as the system rejects them as being duplicates...


Not sure.The same happened to me yesterday. There is a spambot issue hitting WP sites at the moment.

We're looking at it


Thanks James. The abiltiy to edit and delete comments pending moderator approval would be very helpful indeed. I don't know is the WP guys are open to suggestions like that or not...


Its that they did not know that should worry them the most. What else about the design and therefore running of their unit do they not know? How far does the rot extend?

They to not just fix the problems, but also fix HOW the problems got there.


Again a reply within a thread that gets posted at the bottom as a new post...


Let's face it, some of those threads can be a bit slippery so it's not surprising that the odd comment falls down.


We've had such strong reliability for a number of years, we've all forgotten how half the field used to break down at the start of the season. Personally, I'm not unhappy about the prospect of it returning 🙂


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