• Jerez test

Renault Sport admits performance was 'unacceptable' at Jerez

ESPN Staff
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Red Bull was hardest hit with just 21 laps in four days © PA Images

Renault Sport has admitted its power unit problems at Jerez this week have been "unacceptable" but is confident it will be able to fix the problem by the next test in Bahrain.

Renault Sport-powered teams have struggled to get their cars running reliably this week and have not been able to get close to the pace and mileage of their Mercedes- and Ferrari-engined rivals. In total the three Renault Sport-powered cars - Red Bull, Toro Rosso and Caterham - completed 151 laps, while Mercedes' four teams completed 875 laps and Ferrari's three teams notched up 444 laps.

When the Renault Sport-powered did get on track they were well off the pace as the French supplier had to bring in temporary fixes to its power units. Jean-Eric Vergne set the fastest time with Renault Sport power all week, but it was still 6.7s slower than Kevin Magnussen's fastest time of the week in the McLaren-Mercedes.

"The step we must take to reach an acceptable level of in-car performance is bigger than we would have liked," Renault deputy managing director said. "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.

"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."

He gave some insight into the issues with the power units.

"We have not run enough laps, and when we have they have not been run at an acceptable performance level," he added. "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."

White explained that the workaround solutions Renault Sport came up with over the test had a significant hit on performance.

"We recognize that when the cars have run, they are not running at an acceptable level," he added. "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."

White said many of the problems affected all the cars, but Renault Sport would also work to solve the individual issues teams were having.

"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."