Renault vows to address Lotus and Caterham issues
28 March 2014 – Renault's head of track operations Rémi Taffin says that their current wave of improvements are working well but concedes that work needs to be done to aid the progress of Lotus and Caterham.
Red Bull and Toro Rosso had a relatively trouble-free day during practice for the Malaysian Grand Prix but Lotus and Caterham encountered problems which impacted their running.
"We came here with a substantial job list and we have been able to run through a lot of items and validate some of the software and hardware upgrades put in place after Australia," said Taffin.
"In many respects we have seen improvements, with competitive times from the Red Bulls and Toro Rossos and a high lap count from those two teams. There are still further improvements in the pipeline to allow the drivers to get closer to the full potential of the cars, but this first wave seems to be working well.
"At Caterham Kamui Kobayashi’s energy store developed a fault and we needed to change after just a handful of laps. We were ready to go for FP2 but then the chassis team picked up a leak from the clutch so he lost further time. Marcus [Ericsson] had a better day but he could not set a perfect lap due to a reported software glitch that affected driveability.
"Yet again Lotus had a very difficult day with again very limited running. In the morning we suffered some mapping problems on Romain [Grosjean]’s car and then Pastor [Maldonado] stopped with engine and turbo related issues. Romain was able to do more laps but is still suffering with poor driveability, and then had a raft of gearbox problems. We are putting a lot of energy into improving."
Taffin added that cooling is the biggest issue facing teams due to the high temperatures registered at Sepang.
"There are the very unique challenges of Sepang we have had to address," he explained. "Cooling in the very high temperatures is incredibly important so we have tried different solutions to keep temperatures in check. One way to maximize the speed is to keep the charged air temperature in the ICE [Internal Combustion Engine] down, so it has been a key factor across all teams today."