The Renault engines endured mixed fortunes on Friday in Australia as the French manufacturer showed that it is working its way out of its problems.
While RBR and Toro Rosso had relatively troublefree days, both Caterham and Lotus faced huge problems, although not all were entirely due to the power unit. However the mileage achieved by the other teams was a big plus.
“First race weekend is always a testing time,” said Renault F1 boss Rob White. “And of course this year feeling particularly anxious because we’re not as well prepared as we would have liked to have been. So, one of the things that Christian rightly alluded to is the fact that in some ways some of the race weekend scenario still needed to be practiced for the first time in P1 and also P2. So, pleased to be able to run through a normal-looking race weekend program.
“If we take a step back and look at the kind of troubles that have befallen us and our teams, then the first thing to say I think is that we’re behind where we should be in terms of time, in terms of our internal objectives. Then independent of one’s level of competitiveness, it’s completely unacceptable to be coming to a first race as relatively unprepared as we are, and without having run through all of the scenarios that we needed to.”
Regarding the specific problems he said: “In terms of where the trouble lies, then we remain confident that the building blocks that we’ve got in place are the right ones, that we know the level of thermal efficiency that we need for the turbocharged engine to be competitive in terms of power. We know that the regulatory constraints on the electrical machines from the battery and that mustn’t be exceeded, but in order to be competitive, you’ve got to be able to be up with those limits, and we are up with those limits.
“Where it’s tough is delivering power to the backside of the drivers to the contact patch between the tire and the tarmac, the sum of those parts, and at the moment we’re not yet able to deliver that in a decent fashion. And this comes right back to the heart of these regulations.”
Concerns about the Renault’s ability to get off the grid were allayed when teams performed practice starts without apparent problems.
“There was nothing magical. They were kind of towards the end of the run plan for the testing and we didn’t quite get there in the pre-season testing in several cases. We haven’t got any particular concern about them. Of course we’re now into learning about the set-up parameters in order to try to get some performance into the practice starts. It is a very important phase of the race. We’re very conscious and all of our teams are very conscious of that. So, once again, we’re behind where we would have liked to be and the task now is to try and gain ground.”Caterham, Formula 1, Lotus, Renault, Toro Rosso