Renault: Melbourne will be an anxious weekend
3 March 2014 – Renault Sport F1's Rob White has conceded the 2014 F1 season opener in Australia will be an 'anxious' weekend for the French manufacturer.
Renault has struggled in pre-season testing with Red Bull Racing and Lotus both failing to do more than 200 laps during the third test at the Bahrain International Circuit. Indeed the reigning Champions did just 182 tours over the four days in Sakhir, while the men from Enstone did a measly 127.
“The aim of the last test session before Australia was to recover some of the lost ground from the previous test sessions and to rehearse the Grand Prix. We can’t escape the fact though that we did not complete the entire programme with all the teams and that some Melbourne preparations are incomplete,” White stated.
“On the up-side, however, we have done some of everything, with simulations of qualifying sessions, starts, race distances and long stints and it is fair to say that once again we have made some real progress,” he added. “We have cured or found workarounds for some of the problems we had previously identified. [But] new problems revealed as we ran more have added to the unsolved items, and have disrupted running, which is disappointing for our teams.”
Pressed on what needs to be done now before Australia, White added: “We have a number of items to cover. We need to consolidate all of the lessons learned across all the teams. We need to review all the accumulated data and compare and contrast to get the best out of it so the starting point for all of the Renault-powered cars is as good as it can be.
“Second, we must progress further on the torque delivery of the PU [Power Unit] felt by the drivers. This will include software and calibration work, with simulator and dyno and validation.
“Thirdly there is the logistical challenge of getting the race Power Units built and shipped to Australia. That process is well under way and will be finished next week.”
“Melbourne will be an anxious weekend!” he concluded. “Conducting a normal race weekend, in which both cars run well during each session for every team, would be a great relief. I hope we can support our teams and drivers to explore the performance of the car and allow the race to deliver its sporting verdict.”