The Renault Energy F1-2014 made its debut in pre-season testing in Jerez. While the initial feedback was less than ideal, the team at Renault Sport F1 has taken great strides in the subsequent two tests in Bahrain.
With less than two weeks until Melbourne, the team at Viry is now flat out readying the PU and the systems for its first-ever race.
Here’s a look back at the story of the testing period with Renault F1 Sport deputy managing director (technical) Rob White:
“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.”
“At this stage every kilometre is hugely valuable. We are a long way from the type of operation we had planned and prepared for, 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.”
Bahrain Test 1
“We have had some set-backs, but we have definitely made progress and have taken several steps forward. The changes have improved the PU behaviour in the car and we are have accumulated valuable mileage. There have been stoppages, on our side and on the chassis side as well, but we have ironed out some important faults and allowed the teams to gain crucial experience of the car as a whole.”
“We made a number of specification changes to the Energy Store (battery), involving modified hardware, requiring some gymnastics in engineering, procurement, assembly and logistics.”
“We also introduced two levels of PU control system software updates; the first being effectively what would have been a decent starting point for Jerez. It eliminated some bugs that allowed us to make mapping and calibration corrections, which subsequently allowed us to operate the cars in a more robust way to gather mileage.”
‘The second layer of software changes had more functionality to allow a greater authority to the control systems, giving better performance and driveability, and a larger degree of Power Unit systems integration.
“While we are not at the level of operation and performance we would want to be, we have a more solid basis to work from, and we are moving in the right direction.”
Bahrain Test 2
“The aim of the last test session before Australia was to recover some of the lost ground from the previous test sessions and to rehearse the Grand Prix. We wanted each of our four teams to be able to approach a normal race weekend without having to improvise any of the procedures or operations needed.”
“We can’t escape the fact that we did not complete the entire programme with all the teams and that some Melbourne preparations are incomplete. On the up-side, we have done some of everything, with simulations of qualifying sessions, starts, race distances and long stints and it is fair to say that once again we have made some real progress.”
“Melbourne will be an anxious weekend! Conducting a normal race weekend, in which both cars run well during each session for every team, would be a great relief. I hope we can support our teams and drivers to explore the performance of the car and allow the race to deliver its sporting verdict.” (Renault)