Renault will have a ‘definite solution in place’ in time for next the second pre-season test in Bahrain, after its new turbocharged power units showed worrisome reliability in last week’s inaugural test at Jerez.
With Lotus missing in action, Renault’s three remaining partner teams – Red Bull Racing, Toro Rosso and Caterham – had a nightmarish maiden test in their new 2014-spec cars, with three three outfits clocking up just 151 laps of the Spanish circuit between them.
By contrast, the Ferrari-powered outfits – Ferrari, Sauber and Marussia – managed 444 tours, and the remaining Mercedes-powered runners managed an impressive 875 laps, although they were helped by having four teams in action.
It was an embarrassing start for the French engine maker, but they are confident of having most of the issues resolved in time for the remaining two four-day tests at the Sakhir International Circuit, which kick off less than one month before the season-opening Australian Grand Prix.
“At this stage every kilometre is hugely valuable. We recognise that when the cars have run, they are not running at an acceptable level. 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 is useful,” Renault Sport’s Rob White said in an interview.
“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.”
White confirmed that several of the problems identified at Jerez were “common to all” three teams.
“The power unit is the same specification in all the cars except for relatively minor installations differences. Some problems are particular to one installation environment, but it is our responsibility to deal with all of them,” he added.
“In general, the individual issues are understood; we have worked with all three teams running and despite appearances, have made some useful progress.
“We have not uncovered any big new fundamental problem, although we must recognise that our limited running makes it impossible to be certain.”
One thing is certain: the activity at Renault’s Viry-Châtillon headquarters will be frenetic.
The second Formula 1 pre-season test kicks off on February 19.
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