Kobayashi: Renault far behind engine rivals
21 February 2014 – Caterham driver Kamui Kobayashi has conceded that Renault has a long way to go if it is to compete with engine rivals Mercedes and Ferrari, as the French manufacturer's pre-season testing gremlins continue.
Although the Japanese racked up 66 laps and finished as the fastest Renault-powered driver on the second day of this week's Bahrain gathering, he says his team has been unable to focus on its 2014 machine as a result of the early software and hardware issues with the brand's new turbocharged 1.6-litre V6 power unit.
"This is what we have in our hands right now so we have to help them to be able to fight with the other engine manufacturers," Kobayashi told reporters. "At the moment, we are definitely too weak pace-wise, so we give the maximum chance to them and thereafter we have to work on our car. So we are waiting for the engine system."
Kobayashi, who has made his return to the top echelon after a season in the World Endurance Championship (WEC) with Ferrari, also argued that the powerplant is much slower than its counterparts in a straight line.
"During testing, we meet some other cars and clearly we can see that the Mercedes-powered cars are much quicker on the straights, around 20-30km/h more. It would mean different braking points, everything, if we had proper power. We will see what we can do in a short time. At the moment, we are definitely quite late."
Kobayashi added that slow corners are also causing a huge problem, due to the engine's power output.
"We had many problems on the engine side," he explained. "This [the engine] is what we are waiting for because we have too aggressive power delivery, which is very difficult to handle under acceleration out of the corner.
"So at the moment, slow corners are very difficult because we don't know how much grip we can get."