Daily #F1 News and Comment: Tuesday 18th February 2014

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Schumacher case closed

FIA gives rookies the green light

Adrian Newey confesses

The new road to F1?

Webbuary

Another 20 years be here he should

Williams finds money where others cannot

Akebono becomes more than ‘just’ a supplier


Schumacher case closed

French authorities have closed the criminal investigation into Michael Schumacher’s skiing accident. The investigation found no indications that negligence on behalf of the resort nor deficiencies of the equipment played a part in the accident, leaving sole responsibility for the accident with Schumacher himself.

Such investigations after fatal or near fatal accidents are normal in Europe.

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FIA gives rookies the green light

The FIA has finalized the last rule tweaks for 2014. From now on rookies, who do not have a superlicense will be required to have a green rear light, that is turned on at any time out on the track, regardless of weather conditions or visibility. Since participation in official testing sessions, like the upcoming winter tests at Bahrain, require a superlicense, this new rule does only apply to the Young drivers test and private testing sessions of the teams.

There are several candidates, who could be expected to be seen going out on track with this new form of illumination. Most likely candidate is ‘Swiss Miss’ Simona de Silvestro, who was recently signed as an ‘affiliate driver’ by the Sauber F1 team. The Sauber press release stated that one of the expressed goals of her 2014 program is to qualify for a FIA superlicense. To do that she would have to run at least 300km in a current car under FIA observation and post reasonably competitive times while doing so. This would ideally be done during one of the private testing days. The 2014 rules allow each team four 2-day tests, which would give Simona 7 chances to go out, as one of the 8 testing days has to be reserved for doing tyre testing under Pirelli’s control.

Another candidate would be Williams’s Susie Wolff, although she technically already fulfilled the minimum criteria for a supoerlicense during last season’s young drivers test.

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Adrian Newey confesses

Since TJ13 always tries to reach out to new audiences, we present this article in a format comprehensible to the Youtube and 9gag generation:

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Translation for those with a normal attention span:

In a statement for Autosport, Red Bull design guru Adrian Newey has confessed that most of the blame for the Jerez test disaster has to be put on themselves rather than engine partner Renault. While he maintains that the French powertrain has an excessive need for cooling in comparison to Ferrari and Mercedes units, he admits that his approach to the tightly packed rear end of the RB10 was too risky and didn’t pay off, resulting in bodywork catching fire around the exhaust.

He implicitly admitted that the RB10 is a rush job, saying that they would have needed ‘another few weeks’ to produce all the parts necessary. This time problem is the direct result of Red Bulls misjudgement of last season. While big rivals Mercedes, McLaren and Ferrari all quietly gave up on 2013 by the summer break and channelled all resources into the development for 2014, Red Bull kept developing the RB9 late into the season, expecting an R&D counter-attack that never came.

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The new road to F1?

For many moons the road to F1 began by taking up karting at an age, when others stop believing in Santa, but for the first time a ‘new generation’ junior appears. For years now Nissan and Sony have run a joined yearly competition called ‘GT Acedemy’. Gamer kids go head to head using the playstation console simulation GranTurismo in officially sanctioned competitions. The best competitors do then congregate for a real driving experience, a hard and thorough racing drivers school, which is usually staged at Silverstone.

One of the first, who made the successful conversion from console kid to real racer was Spaniard Lucas Ordonez, who has made himself a name in Le Mans and other endurance racing events. 22 year old Brit Jann Mardenborough, who won the 2011 GT Academy has now been signed up to the Red Bull junior program after running the F3 European Championship last year and scoring a 3rd place in the LMP2 class at Le Mans.

It should be said however, that we should not think of the console racers as pimple-faced social misfits, who sustain themselves on Haribo and Cola – those are called programmers – we are talking about seriously competitive people here and the level of preparation approaches real life dimensions. The Fat Hippo served as a member of Race control at a digital 24h of Nürburgring last November. The race was run in real time. Teams brought in hundreds of dollars worth of equipment. The winning team, which included a former GT Academy finalist, had the problem that their two best drivers rely on different wheel and pedal installations, so they devised a rig that theoretically should allow them to change the complete installation in less than the 55-60 seconds it takes to refuel their GT500 class Nissan GTR at the end of the stint. Everybody said it was impossible and in the end they didn’t do in 55 seconds. They did it in 38, leading to spontaneous applause, even from rival teams:

Red Bull is currently setting up a GP3 program for their latest recruit. The digital generation has arrived.

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Webbuary

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Another 20 years be here he should

The rather distasteful public mutual stroking session between F1’s ageing tyrant Bernard Ecclestone and his overeager disciple and – if Bernie’s drivel is to be believed, favoured successor – Christian Horner of Red Bull continues. In an interview with SportBusiness International Horner adds more ridiculousness to the mutual praising: “I would never consider taking on Bernie’s role. My function and commitment is to Red Bull, and I certainly hope that Bernie will continue for another 20 years. It is in all our interests if he does. Bernie is still very much alive and in control of Formula One.”

(cue stomping sound of approaching well fed hippopotamus amphibius)

O really Christian? Another 20 years of Bernie? Somehow you missed that the toad had to step down recently and now is ‘in control’ under board supervision, because a bunch of ill-tempered Germans got it into their heads that business crimes like bribery and fraud are not really nice and want to lock up his carcass in jail. And even if he somehow buys his way out of that one, in 20 years he’ll be even more senile than he already is and will have relocated to Degobah, lifting things just by raising his hand.

And what does it mean you don’t want Bernie’s job? Yes Bernie said he wants you to be his successor, but somehow you’re the only one, who missed that it was Bernie’s rather poor attempt at making a joke. You couldn’t lead the way out of a paper bag. You were completely out of your depths with two squabbling drivers. How in the wild world of sports would you handle a dozen squabbling teams? Hilarious.

It’s really time that folks stop shoving microphones into the faces of Horner and Ecclestone, as both are monumental failures as stand-up comedians.

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Williams finds money where others cannot

petrobrasAfter years at Ferrari where Felipe Massa was paid to drive and had, or could, do very little to bring in sponsors from his country it now appears the new found freedom of the little Brazilian has a rather lucrative side.

Today Williams F1 announce that it has signed a new multi-year partnership agreement with Brazilian multi-national energy company Petrobras. The two companies had a previous relationship, starting in 1998 that lasted for 11 years.

As part of the new agreement Petrobras will help develop a new specialist motorsport fuel for use by the team starting in the 2015 season. The company claims to be a “global leader in energy production through deepwater oil and gas exploration and production,” and “pioneers in one of the world’s most promising oil and gas reserves: the pre-salt formation, which will aid the company in doubling its production by 2020.

The company hopes this increase will have a significant impact global energy supply and further the development of society.

WilliamsPetrobrasPetrobras President Maria das Graças Silva Foster expressed his happiness about returning to “the biggest motorsport competition in the world.” He goes on, “During the 11 years that Williams was by our side we made significant advances in product development, such as Podium gasoline. Participating in this competition is a huge challenge, since it requires us to always be ready to meet the highest standards for quality and efficiency demanded by the category. We are very excited to start this new challenge.

Sir Frank Williams were thinking of the glory days and said, “Petrobras and Williams have had a successful partnership before and we are both looking forward to reuniting for 2014. Technologically they are very strong and that will be important for the team as the new regulations have made fuel efficiency increasingly important. They are also a very ambitious global company and we are looking forward to working together to further their marketing goals.

It remains to be seen which fuel supplier would be better for the Mercedes engine, Williams’ Petrobras or Mercedes’ ‘in-house’ fuel manufacturer, Petronas.

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Akebono becomes more than ‘just’ a supplier

Today McLaren Mercedes announced Japanese brake manufacturer Akebono has been ‘elevated’ to the status of ‘Technology Partner’ having designed and integrated the all-new brake by wire system in response to the latest changes in the Formula 1 regulations.

Due to the five-fold increase in the rate at which cars can harvest energy under braking (from 400 kJ per lap to 2,000 kJ per lap) the rear brakes have been significanly affected. To help control and prevent the rear of the car to lock-up Akebono’s engineers have developed the ‘brake-by-wire’ rear brake control system to aide the braking at the rear, negating the need for the driver to constantly alter the brake bias, and thus contributing in preventing rear lock-up.

Sounds like ABS does it not?

McLaren and Akebono started working together in 2007 and celebrating a world championship with Hamilton in 2008. Speaking at today’s announcement Hisataka Nobumoto (Akebono’s Chairman, President & CEO) said, “becoming a fully-integrated technology partner to McLaren Mercedes is another step in being recognised as the best brake manufacturer in the world.

He continues, “Formula 1 represents the greatest of engineering challenges and the new regulations introduced this year give us an excellent opportunity to design and integrate a brand new electronic system that will further showcase our technical prowess.

Jonathan Neale, as you can expect, was very complementary of Akebono. “Akebono has been a committed, unwavering ally of the team since 2007 and has continually innovated its product offering, not least in the face of this year’s new regulations which see a huge increase in energy recovery under braking. Akebono’s all-new electronic brake system will be a valuable technical asset.

McLarenP1Status of ‘Technology Partner’ at McLaren is not to be taken lightly – it is a mark of technical excellence and product performance – and is well deserved by Akebono which now supplies bespoke brake systems to all of McLaren’s race cars across Formula 1 and GT as well being the OEM partner to the awe-inspiring McLaren P1™.

One can only hope these new braking systems don’t hold McLaren back, another year like 2013 and they may decide to completely remove any braking device from their cars!

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57 responses to “Daily #F1 News and Comment: Tuesday 18th February 2014

  1. “While he maintains that the French powertrain has an excessive need for cooling in comparison to Ferrari and Mercedes units”

    How does Newey know this? I’m not saying its wrong, but surely he is just speculating?

    • Maybe he is doing some PR for the RB10 so that if it flops he can turn around and say told you so.

      Maybe he is looking at the Ferrari side-pods which are smaller and thinking why can’t he do it? If I remember correctly in an article Lorenzo published on here Ferrari’s engine/exhaust layout is different and therefore runs cooler?

    • Quite frankly, one doesn’t need to be Adrian Newey to know that since Jerez. The Ferrari powered cars all had ridiculously small side pods, the Mercedes powered cars also had sleek and fairly compact side pods, while the only Renault powered car that didn’t overheat regularily was the Caterham and they have two open barn doors nailed to either side.
      Not really rocket science to sort the three engine brands by cooling requirements.

      • I’ve scaled a few photos up in CAD, and its a bit of an inexact science until we start getting better images filtering through. Whilst the Ferrari powered cars do seem to have slightly smaller side pods (in width), and I mean slightly not ‘ridiculously small’, it seems to be low cm’s per side at best, 1, 2, 3 etc, the mercs seems to be flatter of a similar order, and the RB’s don’t look that dissimilar. The only thing that really stuck out to me was how stupidly small the RB10’s rear is, now that is stupidly small.

        I reckon (and that was the nuance of my point which DQ referred to) that he’s just trying to do a barbed confession in Scooby Doo style “Whilt it is my fault, it would still have been fine were it not for these pesky kids… sorry Renault engines”. So he’s still having a dig, despite, the one substantial visible difference being the tail of the RB.

    • The article didn’t explain that Newey was talking about the INTERCOOLER.

      ” Everybody of the three engine manufacturers will have a different target for how hot their charge air is going back into the plenum and Renault have given us a fairly challenging target. ”

      Renault are using an air to air intercooler.

      Lorenzo in his article stated that Ferrari were using a water to air intercooler which is much smaller.

      Coupled with the different exhaust design = smaller sidepods.

  2. I love how tech makes things possible. Now I don’t have to pay for years of karting to see whether my kids have talent, all I need is a racing game. Long live innovation! Hip hip hurray!

    • Mind you, that those, who make it to the GT Academy final have rigs in excess of 1.000 € to use the full simulation capabilities of Granturismo, the game they use. I’ve been using the different generations of said game/simulator for over 15 years and some of the young hotshots easily run circles around me.

      To give you an idea: Back in July last year I drove a 24h race at the Nürburgring with the three guys in the video. One of them is a former GT Academy finalist and his fastest lap on the Nordschleife was over 40 seconds faster than mine, and I have more than 10 years experience of driving on the real track.

      The key behind this GT Academy program is, that computing technology is so advanced these days that even a console like the playstation allows fairly realistic physical simulation. The simulator allows exposing people with a natural talent for positioning and controlling a racing vehicle. When the finalists arrive at the real track, about half of them fail, because they can drive fast, but fail in crowded racing situations or have problems finding overtaking possibilities.
      This process will never replace the traditional path, but it opens an alternative route, just like DTM has become an alternative to make it into toplevel motorsports since the mid-nineties. A few made it that way, like Fisichella, Franchitti, Albers and DiResta, but the majority arrived by the traditional route.

      • Thanks for the extra info. Still, it’s cheaper to start gaming then to start karting – proper I mean, being able to practice for hours.

      • and also the fact that in real life you can actually die in a crash influences a driver’s confidence considerably when compared to sitting on your couch looking at a screen. Not to mention the difference in physical effort required and also the subtle random track nuances that happen from lap to lap (oil, debris, temperature change, etc).

        • “…. the difference in physical effort…..” That about says it all. I remember racing in FF on a temporary airport circuit; one sweeping turn was really rough so my head was pushing over and the helmet was bouncing off the rollbar – the net effect was to reduce vision to tunnel vision. It was actually pretty cool. Try that in your armchair.

  3. It’s a great sensation to see Newey struggling. Seems to me that we’ll have races this year, and not just Sunday drivings.

      • After the way Newey/RedBull have wiped the pitlane with them over the last 4 years, do they really deserve any compliments?

        As you yourself pointed out last season, it was the others not rising to the challenge and not RB who caused the 9race Vettel show.

        • I don’t understand why people still perpetuate the myth that RB mopped the floor with everyone else for four years. They went into the last race in 2010 2nd and 3rd in the championship. Halfway into 2012 Alonso was leading by almost 50 points. Only in 2011 and 2013 was the RB the clearly fastest car. 2010 and 2012 were very close competitions with no real stand-out machine.

          • OK then, RB mopped the floor for 2 full years, a half year and a 3/4 of a year in a space of 4 years. That’s more than 3 years’ worth of domination in any case.

          • They were never the best car in 2010, the Ferrari was. RB’s car was quick, but too unreliable.
            In 2012 McLaren had the fastest car, but made way too many wrong strategic calls and pitstop mistakes. Normally Lewis should have had sealed the title by Austin. The RB was #3 at best until halfway into the season. They out-developed Ferrari, but wouldn’t have gotten near the title if it hadn’t been for Macca beatíng themselves.

          • Its just a figure of speach really, I know that 2010 and 12 were close but RB still did the better job because they won. Therefore the others didn’t rise to the RB challenge. In years to come, people will just look at the stats not how close the championship was.

          • ‘Only in 2011 and 2013 did RB have the fastest car’.

            I’m going to have to call you out on that one; the RB6 in 2010 was an incredibly dominant car at times, much more so than the 2011 and 2013 cars were. It was ultimately let down by inconsistent drivers who took wins from each other, some reliability issues and poor top speed (which only hampered them at Spa and Monza); other than that they were super competitive. They were also let down by Seb’s starts; he fluffed many of his P1 starts including Germany and Silverstone which cost him wins.

            Macca were strong in the middle of the season but into a development rut and Ferrari were just poor other than Germany and Monza.

            The ultimate proof is what happened in Hungary; they were over a second a lap quicker on that high downforce circuit, with more than half of that attributed to the quick middle sector. Marks lap times in the race were out of this world, despite being on old tyres.

            They should have taken more points in 2010 though. Turkey was an easy 1-2 until Seb’s mistake and Seb’s starts at Germany, Silverstone and his huge mistake behind the safety car at Hungary cost them huge points. Mark went missing at virtually every slow circuit whilst Seb threw away a win at Singapore when he hit the wall on Saturday and proceeded to spend the whole race within a second of the slow Alonso.

            As someone that lives in Milton Keynes, I’m fortunate that I have many friends that work for Red Bull. I’ve asked them many times which of their cars was the best over the years and they will always give the same answer: the RB6. If the Vettel of today drove it, as opposed to the inexperienced Seb of 2010, he would have walked that championship, more so than his 2011 title.

    • If red bull do have a mare of a season, which I’m being cautious about being optimistic about, it will be interesting to see how vettel handles it. As I imagine he’s desparate to catch up to schuey’s five titles in a row. Dummy manufacturers might need to start doing night shifts to keep up

      • I doubt that he’d lose his head over 5 titles in a row, unless you can prove that Vettel is really ‘desperate’. Yes, he’ll probably not be best pleased if he has to run about in a dog, but that’s a normal reaction for racing drivers. Both Button and Alonso lost their temper quite publically last year, when things didn’t go their way and Lewis lost it several times in 2012 when the team threw away points by the bucket load.
        I’m still wondering why people wish for RB to have a nightmare season. What’s the point of beating a so far dominant team by default. Seems like a load of infantile jealousy-fuelled Schadenfreude to me.
        I bet you anything that Alonso and Lewis would prefer to beat Vettel in a straight fight as opposed to beating him, because he can’t compete anyway.

        • I agree, this eagerness to see Red Bull have a crap car is like hoping Usain Bolt does a hamstring before the Olympic final…

          I want to see the best of the best fight it out in cars that are pretty equally matched. In an ideal world we’d get to Australia and have Lotus, McLaren, Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull all within half a second of each other. In reality I fear they’ll be spread by a minimum of 2 seconds, possibly 3.

          Can’t see Vettel losing his head, he’s not like Alonso who’s getting annoyed that his career is edging towards closure. He’s not like Hamilton who is a teenage girl reborn as a racing driver. He’s not like Button who evidently does F1 as a means to an end. We’ll see I guess.

          • “Can’t see Vettel losing his head…”

            I beg to differ. Instances in the past 5 years have shown otherwise and besides he’s never found himself in a bad car all this time. Personal opinion, but a few toys will be thrown out of the pram, whether that happens behind closed doors or not.
            All F1 drivers are primadonnas!

        • It seems we are in for another “lovefest” year from you for Vettel. No big surprise there.
          I think most people want a more equal chance for all the drivers, instead of the one sided affair we have had the last few years. Yes, Vettel is a good driver, or he wouldn’t be where he is today, but his winning of the titles the last few years is mainly down to the car. His driving skills when he is not driving at the front are questionable a lot of the time. Webber had a similar car, but he was hampered by strategies by the team that always favoured Vettel.
          Everything goes in cycles. Look where Williams used to be, or the results for McLaren last year. Red Bull have had some good years, it is part of the cycle of things that they cannot always be at the top. That is what keeps the fans interested in the sport. People will turn away if the same team or driver keep winning.

          • This isn’t Waldorff school. Ferrari has had the biggest budget since ever. If they can’t use it – what was Red Bull supposed to do? Lose on purpose?

        • Would just like a change of scenery regards to a different team winning the title. It has all got a bit stale. Don’t get me wrong have got a lot of admiration for what Red Bull and Vettel have achieved but as a Brit would like to see one of our guys win the title.
          It’s obvious he’s obsessed with breaking records, he wants the lap record every race, so I think we can expect more “Gherkin” comments if things go wrong.
          I’m not really sure what your point about Button and Alonso moaning about their cars is either though. No-ones questioning that. Stop getting so protective over your boy!!
          You answered your own question there as well. The reason everyone wants to see a different winner is because Red Bull have steam rollered everyone else the last four years and that is boring!!

      • Just for the record, a mare is a female horse, so a bull would probably not like this. Ferrari’s stallion would though…

  4. Apparently Lewis will be driving Wednesday/Friday and Nico Thursday/Saturday. Is Lewis Merc’s no 2 now or am I reading too much into it?

    I know that Vettel, Grosjean and Hulk drive first, but for the first two it will effectively be their first proper run so you do want your more experienced driver (in terms how long has been in the team) to go first.
    McLaren have K-Mag first and then JB.

  5. I’m not sure if I’m happy or sad RedBull are on the back foot. I would kinda like to see them defend their position with solid equipment rather than falling by the wayside and the others running away with it. 4 years is Newey’s best winning stint, as we all know nothing is a given and nothing is forever. He has produced some horrendous machines in his career as well as the good ones, I believe it’s more poor cars than good ones over the last 25-30 years. I would like to see the WDC go to the last race with 4 or 5 potential winners and if Vettle didn’t win I would want him to be in second so the victor knew he beat him fair and square and not because his equipment let him down.

    Re-20 more years of Bernie
    If Mr E lasts another 20 years in the job it will be a miracle of medical science. It wouldn’t surprise me if they cryogenicaly freeze him and when medicine advances far enough they will bring him back! Watch out F1 in the 22nd century, there could be a nasty surprise…….

  6. I hope Red Bull have a half decent car. 2012 and 2010 were great seasons in F1 because we had cars that had such close performance at the front of the pack with Ferrari and McLaren both having race winning performance in those seasons.

    Am I interested in watching another 2011 or 2013 ? No. And that applies to any car that’s out front. It’s bad for the sport if one car is so much faster than the rest.

    My biggest fear is that new rules will see a larger field spread than we’ve had for years in the sport. It’s quite possible that Mercedes for example could have a second a lap in hand on all the other teams, and Ferrari chasing them could have a second on Mclaren etc.

    I really do think some F1 fans have forgotton how close modern F1 (as in the last 5 years) was compared to 15 years ago. Heck roll back to the mid eighties Turbo era and look at some of the races, 5 or 6 cars finishing on the lead lap was a common occurance.

    One final thing before I finish my general rant – it’s a damn shame that F1 cars are limited to 15,000rpm now. Those heady days of 22,000 rpm from the Honda and Ferrari motors seem long gone, but the sound they made was glorius for us fans!

    • If the first and the second are close, people will be enthused by their battles and won’t care about the second gap to the 3rd, 4th car/driver. That was the difference to the 80s, plus the fact engines used to break all the time, so interest and thrill were always high. I may be wrong but in that era it was probably only Prost in 85 that ‘walked’ the title.

  7. I think Horner has become F1’s most proficient practitioner of duckspeak:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duckspeak#Duckspeak

    Ultimately it was hoped to make articulate speech issue from the larynx without involving the higher brain centres at all. This aim was frankly admitted in the Newspeak word duckspeak […]. Like various words in the B vocabulary, duckspeak was ambivalent in meaning. Provided that the opinions which were quacked out were orthodox ones, it implied nothing but praise, and when the Times referred to one of the orators of the Party as a doubleplusgood duckspeaker it was paying a warm and valued compliment. ”
    —Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-Four

    • Mr. Hippo –

      RE: “You couldn’t lead the way out of a paper bag. You were completely out of your depths with two squabbling drivers.”

      As Team Principle he’s managed to win the Constructor’s Championship 4 seasons in a row for his team, and managed to finish a close second immediately prior to that streak.

      Letting one’s emotions over-power their logic is part of that ranting process I suppose…

      • Ok.
        If the troops die it’s the general’s fault.
        If they win… By this very logic, it’s due to the general.

        However…
        Being accountable is not the same as being responsible.

      • The fact is Horner had no control whatsoever over Webber and Vettel. Webber ignored team orders in Silverstone 2011 and Brazil 2012. Vettel ignored team orders in Malaysia 2013 and often went for fastest lap despite being told by the team not to do so. If he can’t exercize authority over two drivers, how is he supposed to handle 11+ teams??
        Horner didn’t win any WCC’s the team did, not because of Horner, but despite him.

  8. In a statement for Autospurt
    Wrong! Newey spoke about this at a RAC dinner in a speech to 200 guests which Autsopurt press release portal claimed as their own exclusive…

  9. Who would the judge and fat hippo like to take over from Bernie when he is locked up or pushing up the daisy’s?

  10. Gosh, Tuesday’s call, top to tale and no sign of GM2….
    Manky nailed what Newey was on about, pretty sure that GM2 wouldv’e also….:-)

  11. Another apparent confirmation of the information that the Judge revealed at Jerez…

    The F1 technical reporter, Craig Scarborough was on the Pit Stop Radio Show podcast on Monday, Feb 17. At minute 14:17 in the podcast, he talks about Renault’s problems at Jerez. He describes problems with the MGU-K, problems with its’s shaft, and problems with it engaging with the main (crank) shaft of ICE (petrol engine). There was a crankcase failure. “For the rest of testing they’re going to have to go without full ERS power… There’s also some debate as to whether this part will be ready for Melbourne as well. So potentially some of the first races, the Renault engines could be handicapped because of the problems with this motor generator.”

    This is in addition to what Rob White of Renault Sport F1 said back on January 31st, when he acknowledged the nature of this problem (as a knock-on effect of problems from the turbo-charger and control systems, going all the way down to the engine control systems, and experiencing a hardware failure.

    And in addition to what Gian Carlo Minardi said about this issue on Feb 13th…

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