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. Sunday 22 October 2017

  2. Magnussen penalised for impeding Pérez 00:11

    Magnussen penalised for impeding Pérez

    Kevin Magnussen has been hit with a notional three-place grid drop for the United States Grand Prix after impeding Sergio Pérez…

    F1
  3. Saturday 21 October 2017

  4. Hamilton: Austin coronation 'highly unlikely' 23:59

    Hamilton: Austin coronation 'highly unlikely'

    Lewis Hamilton reckons it is "highly unlikely" that he will secure a fourth world title at the United States Grand Prix, given…

    F1
  5. 23:10

    In full: US Grand Prix qualifying results

    F1
  6. Hamilton claims pole, Vettel grabs second 23:02

    Hamilton claims pole, Vettel grabs second

    Lewis Hamilton stormed to pole position for the United States Grand Prix, ahead of title rival Sebastian Vettel, building on a…

    F1
  7. 21:45

    Follow qualifying for the United States GP!

    F1
  8. 21:11

    Latest Formula 1 photos: Saturday in Austin

    F1
  9. Alonso hints at Daytona 24 Hours outing 20:40

    Alonso hints at Daytona 24 Hours outing

    Fernando Alonso has suggested that he would like to compete at next year's Daytona 24 Hours, having renewed with McLaren in…

    F1
  10. Video: 'In his shoes' at the US Grand Prix 19:28

    Video: 'In his shoes' at the US Grand Prix

    Take a look behind-the-scenes with Ferrari in the paddock and garage at the Circuit of the Americas, ahead of the United States…

    F1
  11. 18:03

    United States GP: Full Practice 3 results

    F1
  12. Hamilton completes practice clean sweep 18:01

    Hamilton completes practice clean sweep

    Formula 1 championship leader Lewis Hamilton completed a practice clean sweep by topping FP3 for the United States Grand Prix…

    F1
  13. Verstappen set for 15-place grid penalty 17:41

    Verstappen set for 15-place grid penalty

    Red Bull's Max Verstappen is set to receive a 15-place grid penalty after taking on new power unit components at the United…

    F1
  14. 16:45

    Follow final practice for the United States GP!

    F1
  15. Video: Texas Longhorns mascot visits F1 14:26

    Video: Texas Longhorns mascot visits F1

    Texas Longhorns Mascot Hook 'Em visits the Red Bull Racing garage ahead during the 2017 United States Grand Prix at the Circuit…

    F1
  16. Hartley encouraged by practice progress 13:12

    Hartley encouraged by practice progress

    Toro Rosso debutant Brendon Hartley believes he made substantial progress over the course of Friday's practice sessions in the…

    F1
  17. Márquez remains wary of Dovizioso recovery 12:24

    Márquez remains wary of Dovizioso recovery

    Marc Márquez insists he still has to be wary of title rival Andrea Dovizioso, despite the Ducati rider struggling for pace…

    MotoGP
  18. Video: Formula E's Rome demonstration 11:02

    Video: Formula E's Rome demonstration

    Watch as Lucas di Grassi, Sébastien Buemi, Nelson Piquet Jr. and Luca Filippi demonstrate Formula E machinery around the…

    FE
  19. Power steering biggest challenge - Leclerc 10:18

    Power steering biggest challenge - Leclerc

    Sauber tester Charles Leclerc says getting accustomed to Formula 1's power steering is the major challenge he faces compared to…

    F1
  20. Super Formula cancels finale, Ishiura champion 09:38

    Super Formula cancels finale, Ishiura champion

    Super Formula officials have cancelled Sunday's double-header finale at Suzuka due to the impending arrival of Typhoon Lan…

    SF
  21. Video: Red Bull duo try American Football 09:34

    Video: Red Bull duo try American Football

    Watch as Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen get a taste of American Football as they train with the Del Valle Cardinals ahead…

    F1
  22. Michelin stays as MotoGP supplier to 2023 08:24

    Michelin stays as MotoGP supplier to 2023

    Michelin will remain as MotoGP's sole tyre supplier through to 2023 after agreeing a new deal with series officials. Michelin…

    MotoGP
  23. Alonso: Friday's lost mileage 'quite painful' 07:34

    Alonso: Friday's lost mileage 'quite painful'

    Fernando Alonso described his lost mileage at the Circuit of the Americas on Friday as "quite painful", having planned to test a…

    F1
  24. 06:04

    Latest MotoGP photos: Saturday in Australia

    MotoGP
  25. Márquez storms to pole, Dovizioso 11th 06:03

    Márquez storms to pole, Dovizioso 11th

    Marc Márquez put in a stunning lap to claim pole position for the Australian Grand Prix, with title rival Andrea Dovizioso only…

    MotoGP
  26. Video: Staying focused at a home race 05:32

    Video: Staying focused at a home race

    Mercedes aerodynamicist Kimberly explains how she handles a whole range of external influences at her home race in Austin, with…

    F1
  27. Friday 20 October 2017

  28. 22:50

    Follow us on Instagram for the best photos!

    F1
  29. 22:48

    Latest Formula 1 photos: Friday in Austin

    F1
  30. Vettel struggled for rhythm during practice 22:42

    Vettel struggled for rhythm during practice

    Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel believes more performance can be extracted from the SF70H after enduring a difficult start to the…

    F1
  31. Hamilton builds 'solid platform' on first day 22:36

    Hamilton builds 'solid platform' on first day

    Lewis Hamilton says that he built a "solid platform" on the first day of practice for the United States Grand Prix, as he pushes…

    F1
  32. Ricciardo: No concerns over Red Bull parity 22:21

    Ricciardo: No concerns over Red Bull parity

    Daniel Ricciardo says he has no concerns over driver parity at Red Bull moving forward, in the wake of Max Verstappen's…

    F1
  33. 21:35

    United States GP: Full Practice 2 results

    F1
  34. Hamilton remains on top in second practice 21:33

    Hamilton remains on top in second practice

    Lewis Hamilton remained at the top of the timesheets during Friday afternoon's second practice session for the United States…

    F1
  35. 19:43

    Follow second practice for the US GP!

    F1
  36. Williams reprimanded, fined over tyre breach 18:45

    Williams reprimanded, fined over tyre breach

    Williams has been handed a reprimand and a suspended fine for breaching tyre regulations during the opening practice session for…

    F1
  37. Video: Spanish lessons - the bloopers 18:42

    Video: Spanish lessons - the bloopers

    Check out the Blooper Reel from McLaren's 'Spanish Lessons' video, as the team prepares to spend another year with Fernando…

    F1
  38. 17:35

    United States GP: Full Practice 1 results

    F1
  39. Hamilton quickest in wet/dry FP1 at Austin 17:34

    Hamilton quickest in wet/dry FP1 at Austin

    Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton set the quickest time during the opening 90-minute session at a drizzly Circuit of the Americas, ahead…

    F1
  40. Verstappen can 'build a team around him' 17:13

    Verstappen can 'build a team around him'

    Red Bull team boss Christian Horner says Max Verstappen is in the "best place" to realise his title ambitions in Formula 1…

    F1
  41. Penalties for Hülkenberg, Vandoorne, Hartley 16:53

    Penalties for Hülkenberg, Vandoorne, Hartley

    Renault's Nico Hülkenberg, McLaren's Stoffel Vandoorne and Toro Rosso's Brendon Hartley will all take power unit-related grid…

    F1
  42. 15:45

    Follow opening practice for the US GP!

    F1
  43. Verstappen to stay with Red Bull to 2020 15:35

    Verstappen to stay with Red Bull to 2020

    Max Verstappen has agreed an extended contract which will see him continue to race for Red Bull for three more years, through…

    F1
more news