Renault “weeks behind” engine development target

F1 Fanatic Round-up

Daniel Rcciardo, Red Bull, Bahrain, 2014In the round-up: Renault admit they are several weeks behind where they planned to be in their engine development programme.


Your daily digest of F1 news, views, features and more.

Q&A with Rob White, Renault Sport F1 deputy managing director technical (Renault)

“We are some weeks behind where we wanted to be, and we acknowledge it will take time to unlock the full performance of the [power unit].”

Lotus ‘could be lead Renault team’ (Autosport)

Nick Chester: “We certainly haven’t gone badly this week in comparison to the other Renault teams and I know they are having a few problems.”

‘I destroyed the car quite badly’ – Kimi (ESPN)

“Maybe it was me, but sometimes it happens and it’s not like it’s the end of the world even if people like to think it is. I just got wheelspin and went to the inside and into the wall.”

Rosberg: Gap flattered us (Sky)

“In terms of reliability I managed to complete the race distance today, so that’s been good. Nevertheless the car did break afterwards so there’s still some way to go.”

“We’re Getting There” – Pastor Maldonado on the Bahrain Test (Lotus)

“Today we didn’t have any big problems with the car. It’s true we didn’t get the mileage we wanted over the four days but today was quite good.”

Sochi’s formula for the future: ‘Fantasy’ becomes reality (CNN)

Bernie Ecclestone: “[Vladimir Putin] knows what he wants to do and he gets on and does it. I’ve never had any fear that what he agreed to do wouldn’t happen. I think (Russia has) done a first-class job for F1 and a super job for the Olympics.”


Comment of the day

Encouraging signs from the second test about the performance of the new generation F1 cars:

Just one second slower than last year’s pole position, these engines are a lot more powerful than anyone expected. 336kph through the speed traps yesterday, I’m starting to like these new regulations!

From the forum

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On this day in F1

Satoru Nakajima, Tyrrell-Honda, 020, 1991Happy birthday to Satoru Nakajima who turns 61 today.

Although Nakajima owed much of his F1 career to his Honda backing, he distinguished himself by setting fastest laps in appalling conditions at the 1989 Australian Grand Prix.

That was the last race of his three-year stint at Lotus alongside such illustrious names as Ayrton Senna and Nelson Piquet.

He infamously tangled with one of his former team mates – Senna – while being lapped during his second race for Tyrrell in 1990. Reunited with Honda the following year, Nakajima bowed out at the end of his fifth season.

His son Kazuki later spent two-and-a-half years driving for Williams thanks to the patronage of Honda’s rivals Toyota.

Images © Red Bull/Getty, Honda

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80 comments on Renault “weeks behind” engine development target

  1. Diego (@ironcito) said on 23rd February 2014, 0:25

    Isn’t the engine freeze like a week away or something? I know they can keep developing a little bit after that, but still… if they’re weeks behind and 35 km/h slower on the speed traps, let alone reliability, it’s looking bad. I think the FIA should have been a little more flexible this year with so many huge changes. More pre-season testing, maybe an engine freeze mid-season or something like that.

    • PeterG said on 23rd February 2014, 0:50

      35 km/h slower on the speed traps

      Only because they have yet to run the engine/ERS at full power, When they crank it all up the speed will be a lot closer.

      More pre-season testing

      Most teams struggled to be ready for the 1st test as it was so having a test earlier than what they did wasn’t possible.

      The teams/engine guys wanted a big gap between the 1st/2nd test’s in order to go through the data & have any changes ready for the 2nd test which they (and pirelli) all wanted in Bahrain so there’s the travel time to/from there to consider.
      Had the 2nd test been closer to the 1st then teams may not have had enough time to sort problems & change whatever needed changing making the 2nd test pointless for them.

      Im also pretty sure it was the teams rather than the FIA which suggested the test schedule we got.

      • Diego (@ironcito) said on 23rd February 2014, 3:36

        Only because they have yet to run the engine/ERS at full power, When they crank it all up the speed will be a lot closer.

        Yes, which proves how far behind they are in development. A week to go, they’re running the engine “in safe mode” and still having problems. Doesn’t look good.

        You’re right about the tests, but I would have pushed the engine freeze back, let them develop it at least for a few races. Or rather, I wouldn’t have an engine freeze at all, but if there has to be one, at least allow for more time until they’re reasonably mature units.

        • kpcart said on 23rd February 2014, 12:39

          why do people keep saying they are not running at full power? why wouldn’t they be? if think the problem is Renault unfortunantly do not have the power, or atleast don’t have the abitlity to use it without a failure.

          • their not running at full power because it would be silly to just go out all guns blazing and then blow a motor or turbo,
            they have to turn things up slowly all the while tuning and mapping the car,
            thats why renault’s lack of motor and software reliability is costing the teams that have their power units dearly, if renults year with this power unit is a flop i can imagine other teams looking at ferrari, mercedes or even honda for there next move.
            thats what i would do if i was head of the team, there in far too deep to go back now, so what they got is what they got, and those that have it good well there lucky its going smoothly yet you never know what renault engines are discovering now could and may be found by the other power unit suppliers, altho alot of the teething problems are out the way!
            will make for good watching seeing vettel having to actually drive the car along side identical cars rather then having a huge aero advantage

          • kpcart said on 23rd February 2014, 16:39

            @matthew, but that is the point of testing, to test things to the limits until they break so they know the limits. Renault would be stupid to turn up the engines/ERS to max power during a GP without knowing if it will be reliable.

          • They weren’t able to run full power because the engine would self destruct. It’s better to get some data then none at all.

    • Le Jimster (@lejimster82) said on 23rd February 2014, 4:04

      I keep wondering if they’ll be able to do software updates during the season to the power unit. Surely the homologation is just for hardware only.. Atleast I hope so.. As it appears the main problem with the Renault power unit is software. It’s certainly going to make for an interesting season. Mercedes and Ferrari look strong right now, but they may turn out to be fast but not durable..

      • yes homologation is for both if i understood crofty rightly, he said once homologated nothing can be changed unless for reliability or safety reasons

        • The key there is reliability reasons @mat-k, but I do believe they are allowed to develop the engines this season (although I’m not sure when the freeze is) – it is gradually going to become more restrictive as time progresses with regards to what becomes homologated.

    • Jeanrien (@jeanrien) said on 23rd February 2014, 8:22

      Not necessaraly good to have an engine freeze this season and so early, but that could change I guess … What’s even more alarming is the limit on engine units : 4 ! Can’t see anyone sticking to 4 engine all season and that could prove to be a strategy by itself. We will have penalties all over the place, and teams could try to change engine in phase opposition with others to get a beter start #.

      But predictions were not to be true this year, so let’s hope mine gets the same treatment

    • Metallion (@metallion) said on 23rd February 2014, 10:36

      Someone please correct me if I’ve misunderstood or missed something but the engine freeze will start next year and only partially right? At least according to Keith’s @keithcollantine article from last year and if you check the last page of the FIA 2014 technical regulations

      From Keith’s article from September last year:

      The FIA’s plan for freezing development of the engines calls for 8% of power unit components by weight to be frozen in development by 2015. That will rise to 23% in 2016, 35% in 2018 and 95% the year after that.

    • TMF (@tmf42) said on 23rd February 2014, 13:30

      the FIA won’t let them sink – it’s a french company after all :).

      But Renault and pretty close to a disaster – so far the PR nightmare didn’t hit the big arena but once they are in Melbourne and they face the same problems – all hell will brake loose :)

      • why would fia favor renualt due there software glitches and ers hardware problems?

        think thats a comment far of the mark!

        if they turn up to melbourne not ready, well then so be it, tough luck

  2. xjr15jaaag (@xjr15jaaag) said on 23rd February 2014, 0:38

    What happens if every single F1 car retires during a race?
    How is the final order determined, or is it as simple as the last person who retired is the winner etc?

    • I think so.. they would have to be classified though. If it didn’t reach 75% distance then I think half points would be awarded.. there might even be a scenario for a re-run, can’t remember all the rules at the moment.

    • Blackmamba (@blackmamba) said on 23rd February 2014, 0:44

      Last man standing gets the 25 points, second from last to stop gets the 18 and so on and so on!

    • sumedh said on 23rd February 2014, 4:43

      Ummm. Not quite. The driver who completes the maximum difference gets 25. So, if Hamilton is 2 laps ahead of Vettel and retires and Vettel retires a lap later, Vettel will still be classified behind Hamilton although he retired later.

    • Red Andy (@red-andy) said on 23rd February 2014, 9:52

      I think this is probably covered by Article 43.2 of the Sporting Regulations, which states:

      Should for any reason the end-of-race signal be given before the leading car completes the scheduled number of laps, or the prescribed time has been completed, the race will be deemed to have finished when the leading car last crossed the Line before the signal was given.

      I suppose that if everyone retired the end-of-race signal would be given then. So supposing that Vettel was the last car running and retired on lap 51 out of 60, the results would stand based on the classification at the end of lap 50. Vettel would get 25 points and any driver who had completed 90% of the race distance (so had been running at the end of lap 45) would be eligible for the other points places.

  3. sato113 (@sato113) said on 23rd February 2014, 0:40

    how the hell did the COTD person find out the speed trap figures from the test?

  4. Blackmamba (@blackmamba) said on 23rd February 2014, 0:40

    The Ferrari seems to be there or there abouts but what if they fail to win the champuionship? What then? Surely some big heads would have to roll, starting with team principal, Alonso would have to finally concede defeat and move on to pastures new perhaps McLaren, and Kimi would just be like whatever. The nonchalance with which Kimi dismissed his crash is quite concerning, as if he has already decided that the car isn’t quite good enough to give him what he once and he has already checked out to the nearest watering hole!

    • That or he knows he is playing second fiddle to Alonso already..

    • Nick (@npf1) said on 23rd February 2014, 1:00

      Surely some big heads would have to roll

      Did I wake up in another year again? Isn’t this something that comes back every single year?

      • Blackmamba (@blackmamba) said on 23rd February 2014, 1:15

        @npf1 But this year is their big chance seeing as they are a manufacturer, and with RedBull floundering they are now supposed to step up and convert all those runner up spots into titles. Merc are already overshadowing them and if they fail this time I just think its gonna be too much for Luca.

        • Tifoso1989 (@tifoso1989) said on 23rd February 2014, 1:43

          Merc are already overshadowing them

          There is no points awarded in testing or am i missing something ?

          • Chris (@tophercheese21) said on 23rd February 2014, 6:40

            People say you shouldn’t look into testing too much into testing, and that’s fair enough. But you’d be completely naive to ignore it totally.

            Renault backed teams are in serious trouble, while the Mercedes and Ferrari powered teams are FAR better off, and we only know this because of… *drumroll* Ta-Da!…testing.

          • Chris (@tophercheese21) said on 23rd February 2014, 6:42

            “look into testing too much into testing

        • @blackmamba 2011 was also their year. So was 2012. And surely it couldn’t go wrong in 2013 after 2012? Not to mention the kind of talk around 1999/early 2000 when Schumacher ‘still hadn’t won a title for Ferrari’.

          For some reason, people think of Ferrari as if they’re a soccer team. But then again, they don’t write off soccer teams before their season has started.

    • Tifoso1989 (@tifoso1989) said on 23rd February 2014, 1:40

      Even if Ferrari will not win the championship i can’t see any other team(just reading from the testing results) apart from Mercedes and Mclaren that can beat them and i don’t think that 3rd in the championship would trigger the catastrophic scenario you have told us.
      BTW Ferrari scored the highest top speed in this test session 336kph which is a clear indication that their power unit is powerful enough to bother the Mercedes powered teams and that the car has less drag , James Allison said after the first test that the data correlates with the wind tunnel and i don’t think that he miscalculated the downforce levels and Pat Fry along with Simone Resta both said that Ferrari were not chasing performance in the first 2 testing sessions
      It is true that the Mercedes powered teams are in a good shape but you have to remember that a good power train is the mix of power,reliability and fuel efficency , the latter is a factor that we cannot determine from testing otherwise what’s the point of having the most powerful engine if you can only use it in qualifying and in a small part of the race ?

      • matt90 (@matt90) said on 23rd February 2014, 2:05

        BTW Ferrari scored the highest top speed in this test session 336kph which is a clear indication that their power unit is powerful enough to bother the Mercedes powered teams and that the car has less drag

        That’s a big assumption to make based on one little number.

      • wsrgo (@wsrgo) said on 23rd February 2014, 3:30

        @tifoso1989 In terms of power, Ferrari aren’t too far behind. But from all those in the know, the car is lacking downforce and is very twitchy. That’s not a good prognosis.

        • Tifoso1989 (@tifoso1989) said on 23rd February 2014, 11:05


          the car is lacking downforce and is very twitchy

          I don’t think that the car is lacking downforce, James Allison said the track data correlates with the wind tunnel which is an indication that the downforce levels are fine, the car on the other hand is having problems in entering/exiting the corners, it understeers, this problem will be corrected with a complete aero package coming in the next test, just have a look at the testing pictures posted on the forum, if you look at the Mercedes/Mclaren front wing you will notice that it features 5 or 6 parts whereas the Ferrari runs the same basic front wing from Jerez which features 3 parts
          The first test was to verify the correlation of the data and the integration of the different parts, the second one was to test the new cooling system and an upgraded version of the power unit, the third will be about performance

          • matt90 (@matt90) said on 23rd February 2014, 20:39

            James Allison said the track data correlates with the wind tunnel which is an indication that the downforce levels are fine

            I don’t see how. All that says is that there is correlation. That doesn’t disqualify them from lacking downforce compared to their rivals.

    • bull mello (@bullmello) said on 23rd February 2014, 2:56

      @blackmamba – “The nonchalance with which Kimi dismissed his crash is quite concerning, as if he has already decided that the car isn’t quite good enough

      Just Kimi being Kimi. He was probably testing the limits with the extra torque launching out of a corner, and he found the limits. Better to find out now.

    • Joshua Mesh (@joshua-mesh) said on 23rd February 2014, 6:18

      Your “heads must roll” logic should be applied equally to all teams. Since when is it okay for one team to fail, but not another? I understand Ferrari have not won a WDC in a few years, but most haven’t.

      Panicking is counter productive. Ferrari’s biggest concern should be their insistence on hiring Italians. They should get the best, regardless of nationality.

    • OneBHK (@onebhk) said on 23rd February 2014, 6:44

      Lets give them a couple of more years shall we…

    • GeeMac (@geemac) said on 23rd February 2014, 9:44

      @blackmamba He dismissed the crash because that’s what he does. Remember his famous “I spun” interview from the 2012 Japanese GP? It’s still testing, he binned it, he is hardly going to make a fuss.

      On @fastiesty ‘s comment: I find all of the column (and comment) inches given to the potential conflict between Raikkonen and Alonso should a situation arise when one is asked to support the other incredibly funny to read. I honestly don’t believe there will be conflict, particularly because they’ll only be asked to yield if one is out of the title running. Raikkonen is a pragmatic guy, he got the benefit of team orders at Ferrari (Brazil 2007 where the team “managed” his pass on Massa in the pits) and he also had to give way to Massa to support his title tilt (China 2008), if he is asked to move over and he has no chance of taking the title, I have no doubt he will. Alonso, well that is another story because there isn’t precedent with him in situations like that. All we have to go on is McLaren 2007 and he is arguably a more mature driver now than he was then.

      • evered7 (@evered7) said on 23rd February 2014, 15:22

        @geemac Most sensible comment I have heard on the potential Kimi Alonso situation. I think Kimi is ‘too cool’ to have a meltdown. Also he is no Massa. He will keep Alonso honest, which will be enough for Ferrari.

  5. Rumours are that Renault will only get their crankshaft vibration/ERS problem fixed by mid-season.. it could be McLaren 2009 all over again for Red Bull. Lewis did ‘win’ the last half of the season though.. and now we have double points, adding an extra race to the second half in effect. Renault need to get their problems fixed a month or two before the break, and Red Bull a compromise car to work until then from Spain ASAP!

    • OneBHK (@onebhk) said on 23rd February 2014, 6:47

      @fastiesty I think FIA will give Renault permission to continue developing their PU beyond the stipulated deadline on ‘safety’ grounds /*sarcasm

      • GeeMac (@geemac) said on 23rd February 2014, 12:40

        They got a dispensation to rework their V8 after the engine freeze too.

        • kpcart said on 23rd February 2014, 13:02

          Renault have been building inferior engines then the competition since they tried the 111degree v10 in 2001. since then they have been on the backfoot. luckily they had great chassis running their engine to make up for the slight loss. when they switched to v8s, it was much less of a change then what we have now, it was essentially cutting off 2 cylinders, so the power levels were similar, with Renault slightly behind and needing these dispensations. this year is looks like they have flopped, and will need more then a dispensation to get to a decent level. I think it would be a miracle if we see Renault powered lotus and redbull doing Mercedes and Ferrari matcing lap times in 3 days at the next Bahrain 4 day test, and same for the first races of the season, maybe even the whole season.

          • Baron (@baron) said on 24th February 2014, 12:22

            @kpcart. A V8 is definitely NOT just a V 10 with 2 cylinders lopped off. There is a fundamental difference in the engineering concept. Do you know what it is? Obviously not.

  6. MarkM (@mpmark) said on 23rd February 2014, 3:16

    Kimi crashed on purpose, he finally had enough of that nose…

  7. Breno (@austus) said on 23rd February 2014, 3:26

    I dont know, the picture from the crash seems like a regular lose control-crash into stuff scenario. The whole thing seems hyped, just like Mercedes front wing failure.

  8. astevo1989 (@astevo1989) said on 23rd February 2014, 3:28

    Just seems as if everyone is reading too much into testing. They are doing what its called testing! What there testing who only knows apart from the team. All we know is renault as an engine is struggling with reliability therefore having to turn the engines down just to get some running and then still experiencing problems! We have no idea who is fast except mercedes who said the where doing qualifying laps no one else has yet. I just know its going to be an entertaining year and not getting caught up with whos fastest and that because untill Melbourne we dont know.

    • People do this every year. I remember 2001, Alesi being fastest in the Prost during a collective test. Everyone was hyping Prost, especially Alesi, who was going to win his second race. He went on to score 4 points.

  9. Chad (@chaddy) said on 23rd February 2014, 3:56

    That Braun car just looks WIDE

  10. Mashiat (@) said on 23rd February 2014, 4:47

    That Massa/Nasr tweet was hilarious. Imagine if Nasr stepped in for Bottas and was keeping up with Felipe.
    “Felipe, Felipe is faster than you. Can you confirm you understood that message?”
    Massa & Nasr: “Ok”
    Then they both slow down and lose the race. The end.

  11. Shimks (@shimks) said on 23rd February 2014, 6:17

    Fascinating Q&A with Renault’s Rob White. Many thanks.

    • OneBHK (@onebhk) said on 23rd February 2014, 6:58

      @shimks That is a strange Q&A, because it was done internally, since it is posted on their own site. Also who asked those questions, is it some independent journalist. To be it seems the Q&A were prepared by Rob White himself.

  12. OneBHK (@onebhk) said on 23rd February 2014, 6:52

    As I said before, it seems all teams would have to recruit more people to stand in as marshalls in every race, because as we see it, the current marshalls cannot touch the car due to ERS issues and stuff. Look at the type of gloves the team members are using

    How much danger ERS risk poses is very much evident here

  13. Is Kimi almost admitting to crashing the car?

    • I remember in Monaco 2003, Mclaren brought 4 chassis for Kimi and he crashed 3 chassis before almost grab pole and win. For team like Mclaren or Ferrari, they need to spend their money someplace anyway.

  14. Maybe it was me, but sometimes it happens and it’s not like it’s the end of the world even if people like to think it is.

    Who is saying that it’s the end of the world? I like Kimi as a driver a lot, but sometimes he does strike me a little bit as suffering from persecution complex.

    • he totaly lacks any personality, hes a great driver but off track hes the most dull, uninteresting person i know. he talks like hes not intrested and seems like he dislikes driving the cars!
      but then he lack of speaking make up for his actions on the track when in the correct car, and imho alnso need be threatened this year and i can see teams calling order and kimi will certainly ignore

  15. I hereby propose that Renault Energy F1 be renamed (on F1F) Renault Lethargy F1 until they pull their socks up!

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