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Renault Sport puts in place solutions for alternator problems

ESPN Staff
July 4, 2012 « 'I feel much stronger' - Massa | Maria de Villota loses eye in accident »
Sebastian Vettel retired from the lead in Valencia with an alternator problem © Sutton Images

Renault Sport has been working with its engine customers to try to rule out the possibility of a repeat of the alternator problems it suffered in Valencia.

Both Sebastian Vettel's Red Bull and Romain Grosjean's Lotus retired from the European Grand Prix with alternator problems, leading to a full investigation at Renault Sport's factory in Viry Chatillon. Head of trackside operations Remi Taffin said its customers had all worked closely to find solutions.

"It's been a very busy time since Valencia," Taffin said. "Not only is Silverstone a big challenge in terms of the demands placed on the engine, but we have also been investigating the cause of the issues we had during the last race with the alternators. Everyone at Viry has been flat out making sure that we fully understand the causes of the failures. It's something our teams have been actively helping us with as well; we have been looking at various solutions such as increased cooling to the alternator, running it less severely and changing the part entirely. In all situations we are putting in place solutions to ensure we are fully ready for Silverstone and that the same issue does not happen again."

Despite changes to the layout of the Silverstone circuit in recent years, Taffin said it was still one of the most demanding on the calendar for engines.

"Silverstone is a fantastic track that still tests the upper limits of the engine, even with the addition of the new slow loop. It counts as one of the power tracks of the season, with 66% of the lap spent at full throttle in qualifying and 61% in the race, plus an average speed of well over 200kph.

"We therefore work towards delivering correct gear ratios at the higher revs to get powerful acceleration and outright power on the long straights. The weather is also notoriously difficult to predict -- regardless of what our English colleagues suggest! -- so the selection of gear ratios is particularly sensitive. The flat nature of the countryside around the track means the wind is quite often high and can change direction very quickly."