Renault Sport F1 Bahrain GP preview

Renault Sport F1 Bahrain GP preview

16.04.2015: CYRIL ABITEBOUL, MANAGING DIRECTOR We have made some real progress since Australia with regards





CYRIL ABITEBOUL, MANAGING DIRECTOR


We have made some real progress since Australia with regards performance and driveability and it’s frustrating that the reliability issues of Shanghai threw a cover over these.


We don’t take the issues we have seen lightly, but we have taken genuine steps forward and need to focus on our continuing programme of improvements while addressing the reliability concerns in parallel. In the short time since the Chinese Grand Prix we have been checking and rechecking systems and procedures to implement fixes for the next race in Bahrain.


Due to logistics of the back to back races a complete guarantee will be difficult but we have made improvements to prevent the race stoppers we saw in China. Our motivation is as high as ever.



RÉMI TAFFIN, DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS


The Bahrain International Circuit is relatively similar to Shanghai with extended periods of wide open throttle and long straights. We go there knowing it may not play to our strengths, but there are still opportunities to take the fight to the front of the field.


 Our Power Unit has moved forward in driveability and although there is still some room to play with, this should pay off in the twisty back section and under braking at the end of the straights.


As well as optimizing performance, a significant part of our preparations for this race have been and continues to be analyzing the issues from China. As a consequence, we will have to make some late calls.


We now know that the failures on Kvyat and Verstappen’s ICEs are different and unfortunately one of them was known but built in when then ICE was introduced early on. The other is still to be fully explained and temporary fixes will be used in Sakhir.’



FOCUS ON…BAHRAIN GP 2012


The desert sands of Bahrain have brought good fortune to Renault, with forty percent of the races held at the Bahrain International Circuit won by a Renault-powered car. Fernando Alonso started the winning streak in 2005 with Renault F1 Team and stood on the top step of the podium once more the following year.


In 2012, Renault power claimed a 1-2-3-4 result and locked out the podium in 2013. At a circuit taken at 60% wide open throttle and a climate that makes engines work hard, the French manufacturer is justifiably proud of its pedigree in Manama.


Director of Operations, Rémi Taffin, remembers: ‘The first year we went to Bahrain, we really weren’t sure what to expect as we had never raced in a desert climate before. We’d been to hot places and dry ones, but never both at the same time.


Also when you looked at the track map, with the long straights and tight hairpins we knew it would be punishing. We learnt a lot very quickly, but the preparation for the race was massive, with lots of work in the dyno beforehand, and an incredibly busy programme on the Friday.


The first year we finished fourth, but when we returned in 2005 we’d done our homework and knew we had a good car. Fernando [Alonso] won quite easily that year. In 2006 we had a tougher time – Giancarlo’s car had a problem, so it shows how close to the limit we were, and how crucial getting everything right was.


‘It took us until 2012 to win again, unfortunately. Going into the race that year, the championship was wide open and we knew that wins were really up for grabs, but everything had to be perfect. We had strong teams that had produced very good cars, but three different teams had won the first three races.


We managed to join everything up with both Red Bull and Lotus for this race, but it was very nerve-wracking seeing four of your cars fighting on track…it could be an all or nothing scenario, particularly when Kimi [Raikkonen, racing for Lotus] was challenging for Seb’s lead!


Watching in the engineering office you could barely watch at times as Kimi was really going for it, and both could have gone out. In the end the racing was very clean, but everyone’s pulses were very high… The icing on the cake was getting third and fourth, but we didn’t take anything for granted until the flag, particularly as everyone was so competitive.


The McLarens were close and tyre degradation was a real issue at the end of the race.

‘In 2013, the last year of the V8s, we knew everything we possibly could about the engines and how to optimize, but we wanted to finish the era as successfully as we could. We started the year well and then it got even better in Bahrain with a 1-2-3 result. It set the precedent for the rest of the year to a certain extent.’

 

- Renault Sport also photo

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16.04.2015 / MaP

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