Renault head of trackside operations Remi Taffin admits that he would not like to be in the cockpit of a Renault powered Formula 1 car at this stage of the turbo game and reveals that the problems afflicting the French built power units are software related.
Taffin told members of the media in Bahrain, “If I was driving the car, to be completely fair, I would be complaining. We know exactly where we have to work on and there is still quite a lot of room to play with. It’s our objective to try to get to the level of the V8, which we knew was very good in terms of drivability, so we’ve got a target and we have to get there.”
It could be argued that the first sliver of light at the end of the tunnel for Renault’s problems emerged on day two of the second stanza of Bahrain testing, ten days into the preseason testing schedule, with Daniel Ricciardo managing some encouraging mileage, at a relatively impressive pace, in the Red Bull RB10.
On the source of the problems that have thus far handicapped the Renault powererd brigade, Taffin is adamant, “It’s definitely software related. It’s how we run the different components and, for example, the internal combustion engine – the V6 turbo – and the electrical machine. Individually they work fine but we are making them all work together, but we still have a lot to do.”
“You could argue we were at full power but we were still not happy with drivability. Any corners that you can’t get the [best] exit out of could cost a tenth or two, so it’s very difficult to say.”
Reports emerged late last week that Renault Chairman Carlos Ghosn personally asked FIA President Jean Todt to extend the homologation deadline.
However Taffin denies that Renault requested an extension, “Anything you can do within three months is a help, whether it’s to do with performance or reliability, it would help. It’s a no-brainer. But I don’t think we needed that time because we’ve gone through and we have an engine with the FIA and that’s how we are going to run in Melbourne.”
Nevertheless Renault could benefit from a loop hole in the regulations which stipulate that changes can be made to the power units for reliability, cost saving and safety purposes.
“We are not planning to have any problems with our power unit, but we have to be honest and I’m sure we will meet some problems through the year and we will use this rule for sure. As we have done for years, it has always been like this,” explained Taffin. (GP247)
Subbed by AJN.