Monday, 23 February 2015

Renault Sport F1 Review of opening Barcelona test

(© Ben Johnston 2015)

Renault Sport F1 continued the development of their new 2015 power unit. This season the French manufacturer’s involvement in Formula One has shrunk.

The company have gone from supplying units to four teams to just two with Infiniti Red Bull Racing and Scuderia Toro Rosso continuing their respective partnership’s with Renault while the Lotus F1 Team have moved to Mercedes and topped three of the four days’ of running in Barcelona over the weekend.

Renault powered Daniel Ricciardo to top spot on Saturday. The new power unit has more driveability and proved to be far more reliable than this time last year with Infiniti Red Bull Racing and Scuderia Toro Rosso getting through their respectful test programmes.

Between them, Toro Rosso and Infiniti Red Bull Racing covered over 3,800KM over the course of the four days. Speaking following the test Renault Sport F1’s Director of Operations Remi Taffin stated:

We’re satisfied with the first test at Barcelona where, programme-wise, we were able to tick all the boxes for Red Bull and Toro Rosso. All four drivers have already completed an entire grand prix weekend’s distance each, including practice, qualifying, a race simulation and procedures.

“So from a technical standpoint we’re ready for Melbourne; everything has been checked. But we’re still not producing the level of performance that we’d like to. That’s something we’ll be focusing on at the final round of official testing this week, but at least we’re starting from a solid base.

“We’ve continued to shake down parts for Melbourne but are still missing some components and software that would allow us to fully optimise the Power Unit.

“So far we have pushed the ERS to its limits, but also focused our efforts around the internal combustion engine and turbo. It’s for those last two elements that we’re awaiting the newly developed components and software.

“Finally, we were aware that some driveability issues might exist on the opening morning as it’s an area we weren’t previously able to explore. We ended up doing it ‘live’ simultaneously in Barcelona and at the factory, which help to push the limits further.’

Renault Sport F1’s Managing Director Cyril Abiteboul stated:

Our main objective in Barcelona, which was outlined and shared with our partners, was to accumulate as many kilometres as possible in order to continue improving reliability. Without a single major issue for either team it’s an area that we’re completely satisfied with.

“Equally, the test validated a certain number of measures implemented since Jerez, which have proven conclusive. On a human level it’s also been satisfying to see our technical staff working ever more closely with our partner teams. The results have been very positive.

“Regarding performance, of course it’s still a bit early to make a proper judgement as it’s always relative and we don’t know what the competition is doing. On our side, we didn’t spend the test chasing lap times. Such aggressive and uncompromising development programmes, both in terms of chassis and the Power Unit, as well as new parts arriving at the last minute, also make it difficult to draw conclusions.

“Saying that, we’re still confident of achieving our target: reducing our Power Unit deficit to Mercedes by half for the first grand prix. Our reinforced partnership with Red Bull is also moving in the right direction, and the overall situation looks encouraging.’

© Ben Johnston 2015

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