Interview with Renault's Rob White

Interview with Renault's Rob White

3 February 2014 – Rob White reflects on the season opening 2014 F1 test at Jerez, where the Renault-powered cars spent most of the time in the garage...


We have seen very little running from the Renault-engined teams. What have the issues been?
We have not run enough laps, and when we have they have not been run at an acceptable performance level. 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 failures.

What fixes did you implement in Jerez?
Between days 1 and 2 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. 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 3 and deployed in the three cars for day 4. This established a very minimalist baseline from which we could build.

Why were these issues not flagged up on the dyno?
We believed our initial configuration was a robust start point for track use but it has not proved to be the case. We have done substantial dyno running in a similar configuration with few issues. We now know that the differences between dyno and car are bigger than we expected, with the consequence that our initial impressions were incomplete and imperfect. Our intention was to run the car; we are very frustrated to face this litany of issues that we should have ironed out on the dyno and which have deprived us of a precious learning opportunity.

Have you learned from the limited running?
Absolutely, and at this stage every kilometre is hugely valuable. We recognize 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. 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.

Has every team experienced the same issues?
Several problems are common to all, as 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. In general, the individual issues are understood; we have worked with all three teams running this week and despite appearances, have made some useful progress. We have not uncovered any big new fundamental problem, although we must recognize that our limited running makes it impossible to be certain.

What is the road map from now until the second test in Bahrain?
Of course we now have a large job list for Bahrain as a lot of the items we wanted to test in Jerez we have not been able to cover. The next stage is to identify the root causes for the problems we experienced, to develop the solutions to strengthen our validation process so we can be more confident to tackle Bahrain in a more normal way.

Are you concerned by the fact that engine specifications are frozen pre-season?
The homologation deadline is the end of February and is fundamental to regulations. 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.

In view of this test, are you still in favour of the new regulations?
Yes absolutely. The powertrain regulations are a massive challenge but also an opportunity, and are hugely important in placing F1 back at the vanguard of technology. We have the necessary tools and determination to succeed. The step we must take to reach an acceptable level of in-car performance is bigger than we would have liked. 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.

related

Comments

Latest News
Full
Compact

  1. Monday 2 March 2015

  2. Arrivabene urges concentration at Ferrari 15:42

    Arrivabene urges concentration at Ferrari

    Ferrari Team Principal Maurizio Arrivabene has emphasised that the Italian outfit must remain disciplined as it prepares for...

    F1
  3. Renault 'quietly confident' ahead of Australia 14:14

    Renault 'quietly confident' ahead of Australia

    Renault Managing Director Cyril Abiteboul says the French power unit supplier is 'quietly confident' ahead of the opening...

    F1
  4. FIA confirms clampdown on helmet changes 13:08

    FIA confirms clampdown on helmet changes

    Formula 1 drivers will be restricted to just one helmet design per season after a proposals put forward by figures inside...

    F1
  5. Final Barcelona pre-season test in numbers 11:01

    Final Barcelona pre-season test in numbers

    The final pre-season test at Barcelona saw Nico Rosberg and Mercedes top the timesheets, and Sauber lead the mileage stakes....

    F1
  6. Vettel expecting close fight behind Mercedes 10:52

    Vettel expecting close fight behind Mercedes

    Sebastian Vettel says he expects a close fight between Williams, Red Bull and his Ferrari team this year - albeit some way...

    F1
  7. Mick Schumacher to race in German Formula 4 10:45

    Mick Schumacher to race in German Formula 4

    Mick Schumacher, son of seven-time Formula 1 World Champion Michael, will make his car racing debut in German ADAC Formula 4...

    Misc
  8. Pons Racing parts company with Tunjo 10:33

    Pons Racing parts company with Tunjo

    Formula Renault 3.5 outfit Pons Racing has confirmed that it has parted company with Colombian youngster Óscar...

    FR 3.5
  9. 09:57

    Photos: Red Bull presents RB11 livery

    F1
  10. Red Bull reveals final RB11 livery 09:32

    Red Bull reveals final RB11 livery

    Red Bull has revealed the RB11 in its final race colours, ahead of the squad's planned filming day at the Circuit de...

    F1
  11. Tost happy with Toro Rosso's preparation 08:38

    Tost happy with Toro Rosso's preparation

    Toro Rosso Team Principal Franz Tost says he is encouraged by the progress the squad has made across its pre-season testing...

    F1
  12. Chilton joins Nissan's LMP1 project 08:15

    Chilton joins Nissan's LMP1 project

    Former Formula 1 driver Max Chilton has confirmed that he will make the switch to the World Endurance Championship this year...

    LM
  13. Video of the Day: Chilton links up with Nissan 08:12

    Video of the Day: Chilton links up with Nissan

    Former Marussia racer Max Chilton and Nissan GT Academy mentor Alex Buncombe discuss their roles with Nissan ahead of the...

    LM
  14. Sunday 1 March 2015

  15. 19:26

    Photos: Barcelona pre-season testing – Day 4

    F1
  16. Pérez upbeat after first experience of VJM08 19:12

    Pérez upbeat after first experience of VJM08

    Sergio Pérez expressed his optimism after he received his first taste of Force India's VJM08 at the Circuit de...

    F1
  17. McLaren prepared for tricky start to 2015 18:57

    McLaren prepared for tricky start to 2015

    McLaren Racing Director Eric Boullier says the squad is prepared for a tricky start to its 2015 campaign after pre-season...

    F1
  18. Lotus: Brake issue caused Maldonado crash 18:33

    Lotus: Brake issue caused Maldonado crash

    Lotus has confirmed that a brake problem caused Pastor Maldonado's crash on the final day of pre-season testing in...

    F1
  19. Rosberg pleased with Mercedes' pre-season 18:13

    Rosberg pleased with Mercedes' pre-season

    Nico Rosberg declared himself happy with Mercedes' pre-season preparations, after topping the combined times at the final...

    F1
  20. 17:08

    Barcelona pre-season testing: Day 4 results

    F1
  21. Bottas tops final day of pre-season testing 17:03

    Bottas tops final day of pre-season testing

    Williams driver Valtteri Bottas set the fastest time as the third and final pre-season test reached its conclusion at the...

    F1
  22. Hamilton explains decision to keep #44 13:06

    Hamilton explains decision to keep #44

    World Champion Lewis Hamilton says he chose to keep #44 as his car number for the upcoming season as it "means more to me"...

    F1
  23. 07:51

    Follow Barcelona pre-season testing live!

    F1
  24. Magnussen wanted Le Mans drive with father 07:46

    Magnussen wanted Le Mans drive with father

    McLaren test and reserve driver Kevin Magnussen says he enquired over the possibility of racing alongside father Jan for...

    F1
  25. Barcelona pre-season testing: Day 4 line-up 06:47

    Barcelona pre-season testing: Day 4 line-up

    The final pre-season test at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya concludes on Sunday and, to keep you up to date with who is...

    F1
  26. Video of the Day: Official Formula E anthem 05:24

    Video of the Day: Official Formula E anthem

    Spanish musician and record producer Nacho Cano had released an official anthem for Formula E.

    FE
  27. Saturday 28 February 2015

  28. 21:12

    Photos: Barcelona pre-season testing – Day 3

    F1
  29. First Ferrari race simulation pleases Allison 20:04

    First Ferrari race simulation pleases Allison

    Ferrari Technical Director James Allison expressed his happiness after the squad was able to conduct its first race...

    F1
  30. Hamilton: Predicting main rivals is 'irrelevant' 19:34

    Hamilton: Predicting main rivals is 'irrelevant'

    Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton says it is "irrelevant" to make predictions over who the outfit's main rivals will be in...

    F1
  31. Ricciardo content with Red Bull progress 19:05

    Ricciardo content with Red Bull progress

    Daniel Ricciardo played down his lowly position on the timesheets during the penultimate day of pre-season testing at the...

    F1
  32. Magnussen feels 'very good base' with MP4-30 18:47

    Magnussen feels 'very good base' with MP4-30

    McLaren tester Kevin Magnussen says the team's Honda-powered MP4-30 feels better in many areas compared to its...

    F1
  33. 17:05

    Barcelona pre-season testing: Day 3 results

    F1
  34. Hamilton keeps Mercedes on top in Barcelona 17:04

    Hamilton keeps Mercedes on top in Barcelona

    Lewis Hamilton ensured that Mercedes remained at the top of the times on the penultimate day of the final pre-season test at...

    F1
  35. Symonds supportive of Manor revival 14:28

    Symonds supportive of Manor revival

    Williams' Chief Technical Officer Pat Symonds says it will be a boost for Formula 1 if Manor can make it to the grid for the...

    F1
  36. Booth: Manor 'very close' to making first race 10:25

    Booth: Manor 'very close' to making first race

    John Booth says Manor Marussia is "very close" to making it to the season-opening Australian Grand Prix, after the team was...

    F1
  37. Video: Vergne drives Ferrari Formula 1 car 08:47

    Video: Vergne drives Ferrari Formula 1 car

    Jean-Éric Vergne completed his first laps in a Ferrari F1 car during a demo in Adelaide on Saturday.

    F1
  38. Vergne completes Ferrari demo in Adelaide 08:11

    Vergne completes Ferrari demo in Adelaide

    Jean-Éric Vergne got behind the wheel of a Ferrari Formula 1 car for the first time on Saturday when he completed a...

    F1
  39. 07:52

    Follow Barcelona pre-season testing live!

    F1
  40. Barcelona pre-season testing: Day 3 line-up 06:43

    Barcelona pre-season testing: Day 3 line-up

    The final pre-season test at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya continues on Saturday and, to keep you up to date with who...

    F1
  41. FIA wants new cameras for crash investigations 06:28

    FIA wants new cameras for crash investigations

    New high speed cameras could be fitted to Formula 1 cars from 2016 in a bid to improve investigations into...

    F1
  42. Video of the Day: Getting ready for pre-season 05:16

    Video of the Day: Getting ready for pre-season

    Mercedes documents the final push to getting the F1 W06 Hybrid ready for pre-season testing.

    F1
  43. Friday 27 February 2015

  44. 21:02

    Photos: Barcelona pre-season testing – Day 2

    F1
more news