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. Thursday 8 December 2016

  2. Gasly aims to be on grid for French GP 07:28

    Gasly aims to be on grid for French GP

    New GP2 champion Pierre Gasly says that he is determined to secure a place on the Formula 1 grid for the French Grand Prix's…

    F1
  3. Video of the Day: Mercedes-Benz party 05:34

    Video of the Day: Mercedes-Benz party

    Mercedes-Benz staged its annual, action-packed motorsport celebration in Sindelfingen, near Stuttgart, last weekend, with recent…

    F1
  4. Wednesday 7 December 2016

  5. 18:32

    New: Follow GPUpdate on Instagram!

    F1
  6. Chilton stays in IndyCar with Ganassi 18:09

    Chilton stays in IndyCar with Ganassi

    Max Chilton will remain in the IndyCar series with Chip Ganassi Racing in 2017. Chilton, 25, made the switch from Formula 1…

    Indy
  7. Carlin names Habsburg as first F3 driver 15:47

    Carlin names Habsburg as first F3 driver

    Carlin has announced its first driver signing for the 2017 European Formula 3 season, with Euroformula Open runner-up Ferdinand…

    F3
  8. Marko: Both Red Bull drivers locked in 15:09

    Marko: Both Red Bull drivers locked in

    Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko has made clear that both Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen are under binding contracts, amid…

    F1
  9. Kvyat calls for driver vote over halo device 14:04

    Kvyat calls for driver vote over halo device

    Daniil Kvyat has called for a driver vote on the 'halo' in order to provide governing body the FIA with a clear answer over…

    F1
  10. Repsol extends Honda deal through 2018 13:11

    Repsol extends Honda deal through 2018

    Spanish energy company Repsol has extended its MotoGP sponsorship contract with Honda until the end of 2018, the Japanese…

    MotoGP
  11. MotoGP presents updated 2017 calendar 12:36

    MotoGP presents updated 2017 calendar

    MotoGP organisers have presented an updated calendar for the 2017 season, with the German Grand Prix brought forward to early…

    MotoGP
  12. Ricciardo: Verstappen arrival 'pushed me on' 11:51

    Ricciardo: Verstappen arrival 'pushed me on'

    Daniel Ricciardo has explained that Max Verstappen's race-winning arrival at Red Bull "pushed me on" for the remainder of the…

    F1
  13. Rahal signs Servia for Indy 500, view to more 10:27

    Rahal signs Servia for Indy 500, view to more

    Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing has signed Oriol Servià to compete in next year's Indianapolis 500, with a view to adding more…

    Indy
  14. Michelin: Return a 'tremendous challenge' 09:03

    Michelin: Return a 'tremendous challenge'

    Michelin can be proud after overcoming the "tremendous challenge" of its comeback as sole MotoGP tyre supplier in 2016…

    MotoGP
  15. Red Bull: Gasly can still have F1 future 07:28

    Red Bull: Gasly can still have F1 future

    Red Bull team boss Christian Horner says that Pierre Gasly can still have a future in Formula 1, despite the newly-crowned GP2…

    F1
  16. Video of the Day: Force India's academy star 05:36

    Video of the Day: Force India's academy star

    Discover more about the developing career of Mumbai-born Force India academy driver Jehan Daruvala.

    Misc
  17. Tuesday 6 December 2016

  18. Provisional 2017 F1 entry list revealed 18:49

    Provisional 2017 F1 entry list revealed

    Formula 1's governing body, the FIA, has issued the provisional entry list for the 2017 season, with Stoffel Vandoorne revealed…

    F1
  19. King 'happy' with Manor Formula 1 displays 15:14

    King 'happy' with Manor Formula 1 displays

    Jordan King says he "feels happy" with the performances he delivered during his pair of Formula 1 practice outings with Manor in…

    F1
  20. Video: Vettel, Räikkönen at Finali Mondiali 14:02

    Video: Vettel, Räikkönen at Finali Mondiali

    Ferrari drivers Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Räikkönen put on a show at the 'Finali Mondiali' at Daytona.

    F1
  21. Formula V8 3.5 adds 'World Series' to name 12:32

    Formula V8 3.5 adds 'World Series' to name

    Formula V8 3.5 promoter RPM has announced that the series will tweak its name for 2017, adding in 'World Series', following…

    FV8 3.5
  22. Red Bull/Aston Martin tie-up to continue 10:30

    Red Bull/Aston Martin tie-up to continue

    Red Bull has announced that its collaboration with British luxury sportscar manufacturer Aston Martin, centred on the design of…

    F1
  23. Mercedes considering Alonso for vacancy 10:00

    Mercedes considering Alonso for vacancy

    Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has admitted that the team is considering Fernando Alonso as Nico Rosberg's replacement, describing him…

    F1
  24. F1 penalties: Who topped 2016's charts? 09:02

    F1 penalties: Who topped 2016's charts?

    Formula 1 currently manages driving offences through reprimands and penalty points, held on individual Super Licences. But who…

    F1
  25. Marchionne: Ferrari has found 'solution' 07:32

    Marchionne: Ferrari has found 'solution'

    Ferrari now has a "solution" to return to the front of the Formula 1 grid, after its win-less 2016 campaign, according to brand…

    F1
  26. Video of the Day: Prema drivers on GP2 05:37

    Video of the Day: Prema drivers on GP2

    Prema team-mates Pierre Gasly and Antonio Giovinazzi reflect on finishing first and second in GP2.

    GP2
  27. Monday 5 December 2016

  28. French GP comeback dedicated to Bianchi 15:58

    French GP comeback dedicated to Bianchi

    Organisers behind the returning French Grand Prix at Paul Ricard have dedicated the development to late Formula 1 driver Jules…

    F1
  29. Overview: History of the French Grand Prix 15:12

    Overview: History of the French Grand Prix

    It was announced earlier on Monday that the French Grand Prix will return at Paul Ricard from 2018. GPUpdate.net looks back at…

    F1
  30. French GP return at Paul Ricard confirmed 13:41

    French GP return at Paul Ricard confirmed

    Formula 1 will again feature the French Grand Prix on its calendar from the 2018 season, with a five-year deal to stage the…

    F1
  31. McLaren adamant Alonso will not leave 12:39

    McLaren adamant Alonso will not leave

    Fernando Alonso will not be leaving McLaren to replace the retiring Nico Rosberg at Mercedes for the 2017 season, according to…

    F1
  32. Wehrlein 'ready for the job' at Mercedes 10:32

    Wehrlein 'ready for the job' at Mercedes

    Pascal Wehrlein says he would feel "ready for the job" of replacing Nico Rosberg at Mercedes for the 2017 season, following the…

    F1
  33. Marko expects Red Bull 2017 challenge 10:02

    Marko expects Red Bull 2017 challenge

    Red Bull motorsport consultant Helmut Marko says he expects the team to be in a position to challenge Mercedes for both Drivers…

    F1
  34. Vettel quells Rosberg replacement talk 09:07

    Vettel quells Rosberg replacement talk

    Sebastian Vettel has downplayed speculation linking him to the Mercedes seat vacated by Nico Rosberg, stating that "it should be…

    F1
  35. Norris wins McLaren Formula 1 test run 08:43

    Norris wins McLaren Formula 1 test run

    Lando Norris will receive a Formula 1 test with McLaren after clinching the prestigious McLaren Autosport BRDC award at a…

    F1
  36. In photos: Where Hamilton lost the title 07:32

    In photos: Where Hamilton lost the title

    Nico Rosberg has been crowned a worthy World Champion, but with a narrow five-point margin over Mercedes team-mate Lewis…

    F1
  37. Video of the Day: Red Bull parallax highlights 05:20

    Video of the Day: Red Bull parallax highlights

    Red Bull presents its 2016 Formula 1 highlights in this parallax video, made entirely from still imagery.

    F1
  38. Sunday 4 December 2016

  39. Alonso samples Honda's RC213V at Motegi 16:14

    Alonso samples Honda's RC213V at Motegi

    McLaren driver Fernando Alonso completed laps on Repsol Honda's title-winning RC213V MotoGP bike during the Japanese…

    F1
  40. F1 urged to end corner-cutting 'subjectivity' 15:03

    F1 urged to end corner-cutting 'subjectivity'

    Formula 1 could end "subjectivity" over corner-cutting if circuits are modified to disadvantage drivers who run off track…

    F1
  41. Manor still has 'big strides' to make - Ryan 14:02

    Manor still has 'big strides' to make - Ryan

    Manor boss Dave Ryan says the outfit's improvement across the past year has been "incredible" but has cautioned that it still…

    F1
  42. Overview: A year with no reigning Champion 13:06

    Overview: A year with no reigning Champion

    For only the sixth time in history, the defending Formula 1 World Champion will not line-up on the grid, with Nico Rosberg…

    F1
  43. Hamilton only wants 'equal rights' in 2017 12:02

    Hamilton only wants 'equal rights' in 2017

    Lewis Hamilton says he is not fussed by who partners him at Mercedes next season, and that his only request is that he has…

    F1
  44. Video: Nico Rosberg title-winning montage 11:01

    Video: Nico Rosberg title-winning montage

    GPUpdate.net looks back at Nico Rosberg's title-winning year with some of Sutton Images' best shots.

    F1
  45. Lauda: Rosberg has left us 'under pressure' 10:30

    Lauda: Rosberg has left us 'under pressure'

    Mercedes non-executive Chairman Niki Lauda says he is disappointed by Nico Rosberg's decision to retire and, with hindsight…

    F1
more news