Open top menu
13 Feb 2014

I felt compelled to set the record straight after reports have surfaced in regards to Renault suffering more reliability issues ahead of the 2nd Pre-Season test in Bahrain.

GMM (yes, yes they know what they're doing) have put out an article suggesting the French engine manufacturer is still having issues with it's powerunits citing the Toro Rosso team 'managed only 70 kilometres at the Misano circuit in Italy, littered with "repeated" stoppages for battery and software faults.' as the team completed one of their promo/filming days.

This comes off the back of the STR9 footage that surfaced yesterday, showing the car at the Misano circuit.

This trip to Misano was ahead of the Jerez test by several days and not after the Jerez test as they've reported.  It was used by the team for both filming and promo work but probably most importantly as a shakedown and installation/systems check ahead of Jerez.  The team are said to have covered around 70km (17 laps) which although it's short of the 100km allowed it's still more than was covered by Mercedes at Silverstone ahead of the Jerez test (40km).

Meanwhile having missed the 1st pre season test in Jerez, Lotus rocked up a few days later to shakedown the E22 and do some filming work.  They reportedly covered the full 100km allotment, which roughly equates to 23 laps and although they had some teething issues it's still only 1 lap less than Red Bull managed in 4 days. This signals either Renault have addressed some of the issues already seen at the first test or the issues were more highly concentrated on the RB10.

For 2014 the sporting regulations were changed in order to facilitate a return to in-season testing which consists of 2 days testing after 4 of the Championship rounds in order to reduce costs.  Furthermore article 22.1:
Each competitor will however be permitted to carry out two promotional events which will not be considered track testing, provided neither exceeds 100km in length. During any such test only tyres provided specifically for this purpose by the appointed supplier may be used.

Toro Rosso, Mercedes and Lotus have now completed one of these 100km promotional events each, using them as a platform to shakedown their cars too.  For anyone speculating on how much can be learnt at a 'promotional event' it's use as a method of testing is pretty limited as there isn't really enough mileage to complete anything meaningful in terms of data gathering, meanwhile the use of none representative tyres (supplied by Pirelli) would further scupper any relevant data.

NB: As the rumor of Toro Rosso completing another filming day post Jerez continues to circulate in the media I will say it is plausible but I'm yet to see any evidence this occurred or in fact it was wise considering that would be their usage done for the season.  (I have put the feelers out to see if they have indeed partaken in a 2nd promo day)


  1. Hi Matt,
    its always good to have some real information and journalistic balance rather than hysteria so thanks.

    A question about Renault's readiness tho: Remi Tiffin has alluded to some "structural issues" amid other reports about crankshaft issues as well as myriad ERS and packaging problems.

    Personally as an engineer I find it hard to believe there are issues with the crankshaft after months of Dyno work, unless the installation, which obviously uses the block as a stressed component in the chassis, is resulting in some unexpected block stress. If these are indeed the "structural issues" then potentially this is very serious unless the teams can modify the chassis to mitigate it, which I guess punts the problem back to RBR and STR It is indeed fascinating that it seems Lotus and Caterham do not seem to have the same issues.

    What is you take on this?

    1. The only issue I can see with the crankshaft is if the bench testing has been done on a rig demonstrably different to the installation of the car, with vibration then becoming an issue. I can't see Renault making a mistake like that unless they've made an error in judgement on the twisting forces involved with ERS. As the MGU-K is clutched/geared then that problem can be offset too I'd imagine...

      As you say it seems that RBT (Red Bull Technology) may have pushed the installation margins whereas Lotus and Caterham have not, resulting in differing issues...

      This is where not having a defacto works team may be Renaults undoing as both Ferrari and Mercedes have had access to the chassis to test installation rather than how it seems Renault have worked with just schematics/engineers. Ferrari have been pretty vocal in how they feel this has given them a huge advantage...

      I can't see these being insurmountable problems for RBR/STR but it may mean they initially have to give up some advantages that they thought they'd gained...


Total Pageviews