Taffin encouraged but admits improvements required
14 March 2014 – Renault's Head of Track Operations Rémi Taffin says he is encouraged by the progress made by the four teams supplied by their power units, but concedes that improvements are still required.
Red Bull and Toro Rosso completed a fairly problem free day, with reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel setting the fourth quickest time.
Conversely, there were problems for Caterham and Lotus as neither team completed significant running across the two practice sessions.
"Our aim was to complete as much running as possible to add to our bank of information. We achieved this with some teams, but with others we fell short," he said.
"We were clearly encouraged by Red Bull’s reliability and performance times in both sessions, with both Daniel [Ricciardo] competing more than a race distance over both sessions and Sebastian coming close. We are much closer to the performance envelope on the car too, and there is still more performance to come, which is very positive.
"Toro Rosso was able to complete the highest number of laps of any team in FP1, and the relative pace was strong. In FP2 again they ran well and while we still have some way to go to improve the driveability and energy management, the start of the weekend has been good."
Problems struck Caterham and Lotus and while Taffin revealed the issues are straightforward, it is difficult to resolve these problems in a short period of time.
"Kamui Kobayashi experienced a fuel system issue in FP1 and Marcus Ericsson an electrical problem, which required a change of battery and the MGU-K. Both issues took a long time to fix, such is the complexity of the 2014 Power Units, which cost us valuable track time," added Taffin. "Marcus [then] had a hydraulic issue and again we lost laps. Every issue is relatively straightforward – it is just not straightforward to fix.
"Lotus experienced some problems that led to issues with the engine systems, with Pastor [Maldonado]’s car having a battery change and both MGUs needing to be changed too. Given the lack of running over the winter this obviously wasn’t ideal and we will work with the team to make up for lost time tomorrow.
"Overall we have learned a great deal today and we will look at everything in detail to improve in all areas tomorrow, but the start has been generally encouraging."