Renault expected struggle before test – Kobayashi

2014 F1 season

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Caterham driver Kamui Kobayashi says Renault’s struggles in the first test of the season at Jerez did not come as a complete surprise to their engineers.

Following his first run in the CT05 on Friday Kobayashi said he was “not worried” that Renault would be able to solve the problems with their new Energy F1 engine.

“They had the best job in the couple of years,” he said. “So I’m not really worried.”

“But just they already mentioned before coming here they are quite a lot on the back on the programme. So when I talk ‘are you surprised with this result?’, they say no because we are missing a lot of schedule off, quite late.

“They have to work on this two weeks with this data and we’ll see how much they improve in Bahrain. And if Bahrain’s test everything’s well I think I’m pretty happy.

“It’s very important for everybody to work these two weeks especially the Renault engine, for us, for Red Bull. Everybody I think saying we’re missing a lot of mileage.”

“Of course if we have more laps I think very happy for the engineer,” he added. “We only have this chance and this data.”

“I have to say [we’re doing] much better than Red Bull at the moment because they made only a few laps. At least we did a couple of laps and we did a few – is not like long runs, but medium runs – and we’ll have data. Looks [like] cooling is fine and everything OK, we just have to develop the car, now we know how much cooling level we needed.”

Kobayashi said Caterham, who completed the most laps of any Renault-powered team, managed to accrue some data but “definitely not enough”.

The former Sauber driver is making his return to F1 following a year out. “For the car I have to say I think initially it’s difficult to get any comparison with the other car because the system is not really correctly working,” he said of the new Caterham.

“And even when I compare with some other car, like 2012 for example, there’s not much to compare, this car is so much different. I have to say it’s not really far away for the feeling, I think we can do a lot of stuff.”

Kobayashi joked about the ungainly appearance of the CT05, calling it “Pinocchio” and saying it was not a problem for him when he was in the cockpit because “I cannot see the nose”.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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27 comments on “Renault expected struggle before test – Kobayashi”

  1. Lotus probably knew it even earlier than Caterham, thus why decided to skip Jerez, and now it looks like quite smart move.

    I wonder, why Renault is behind schedule. They are engine manufacturer, not F1 team, so they didn’t have to manage their resources between 2013 and 2014 programs too much. I hope they sort their problems before Melbourne, otherwise F1 will be a farce with all Renault powered cars retiring at least at the first few races.

    1. I guess it’s just the sheer technical challenge of building an engine to the new rules. Maybe there is something behind the scenes, some way in which Renault has not been able to work as effectively as other manufacturers with its teams. Perhaps Red Bull Racing have had requirements for packaging which Renault has struggled to meet. Who knows. I have it on fair authority that the installation of the components for all of the Mercedes runners is standardised, so they shouldn’t suffer any problems with reams getting creative with packaging, whereas just looking at the Renault runners, you can see they have different solutions.

      But the bottom line is thatit simply is not good enough. Mercedes and Ferrari have both managed to create reliable engines, and seem to be on schedule, whereas Renault haven’t. It’s a big PR problem for them, and if they don’t manage to overcome these problems quickly it’ll turn into an absolute disaster.

    2. Well, maybe @osvaldas31, on the other hand Caterham now learned part of what they needed to learn about getting towards cutting down on their over-dimensioned side-pods. Something the Enstone team do not yet know at all.
      The reason Enstone did not make it to the test was because they were late in the queue at their supplier of radiators (possibly at least in part because of not paying up front) and therefore were just unable to have a car with radiators ready for Jerez.

    3. So that’s why they need double points later on..

    4. Wishful thinking. Lotus didn’t know, not sure if they still do whether they are on the grid in Melbourne.

      I would not be surprised if their excuse will be: most of the cars will DNF anyway.

  2. I’m pretty sure all the Renault powered teams were well aware of Renault’s issues before the test. It explains why Lotus sat the test out, and why Boullier expected others to do the same.

    1. Yep, exactly what I thought about too.

      Even. Lotus should’ve sat the Jerez test. Even. Fifty or so laps can still gather a lot of data for a new car/platform.

      Back to subject, Caterham is doing a very good job by their standards this year, as does Marussia. Hope they’ll keep up.

    2. Not to mention that McLaren was close to missing the test as well, only they likely had more money to throw at it in the last moment.
      I understood that for Lotus the issue was not getting their radiators for the car ready in time (from an external supplier who is one of a few specialized companies working for more teams)

    3. Considering what mess they are in and that they couldn’t even make sure Boullier would join rivals straight away. Probably cause he also did not get paid hence breach of contract.

      No Lotus got no clue.

  3. All of a sudden Lotus seems to be the wisest of all Renault powered teams.

    1. Mind you, if none of them had turned up, then Renault would have had no data at all.
      It might just be that Lotus peed their pants to stay warm.

      1. You must not judge other people by yourself!

    2. I’m sorry, in 11 laps Red Bull learned their pakcage was too tight and had overheating issues. Lotus doesnt.

  4. petebaldwin (@)
    3rd February 2014, 13:09

    It was not a problem for him when he was in the cockpit because “I cannot see the nose”.

    :D I suppose it’ll give him motivation to make sure he pulls away from Ericsson – wouldn’t want to accidentally see that in your mirrors!

    1. This quote somehow is a typical Kobayashi quote. I remember one similar line from him saying something like “my eyes are so small I can barely see the other cars”, or so… He seems a fun chap.

      1. Kobayashi may not have the most complex grasp of the English language… But most of the stuff he says is pure gold!

        For me, this tweet sums Kobayashi up perfectly:

    2. Never play leapfrog with a unicorn

  5. “Pinocchio” no problem because “I cannot see the nose”….that’s gold, good to see him back in F1

  6. “So I’m not really worried.”

    Enough with the PR ** already. Every renault powered team has been **-ing us for a week. Just say you’re worried, come on! If you, the engineers we’ve had quotes from, and the other drivers are calm and not worried as you all claim, you’re all in the wrong job!

    F1 is all about that extra hundreth of a second. Just be real, say what is really up. “not worried” about an engine that in essence doesn’t work. Right, yeah, modern F1 PR nonsense can go to hell.

    1. I suspect they aren’t really worried…. why worry? It doesn’t improve the situation by doing so.

  7. So they knew about these problems before Jerez and couldnt fix it but it’ll all be alright for Bahrain?

    Yeah, and if you believe that, I’ve got a bridge to sell you.

    Renault are screwed. Not good for competition, I hate it when I’m told testing means nothing…….Oh really? Then whats it for then? Renaults engines don’t work properly, I don’t care if it’s a race, practice session, a test or a promo day, the engine is broken, that means SOMETHING.

    1. Couldn’t it simply mean that it is not ready yet ?

  8. I was shocked when I first saw the Caterham nose.

    However, to be honest – the more I see the new cars, the more I like the approach Caterham has chosen. Not only from an aerodynamic point of view, but also just from the looks.

    I suggest you to watch (Ted’s Notebook of Day 3 of Testing)

    It’s strange, but it’s true: It just needs a bit of time until you get used to the looks of such strange things like these noses or the noses from the years before.

  9. Renault have a lot of problems.

  10. Maybe Renault’s involvement in Formula E stretches their resources too much. Though there is still many months left, if Renault fails to deliver there the consequences could be much harsher. Good theory, right?

  11. The quote the engineers, they expected it. So they knew they were gonna run into problems. Doesn’t mean it’s not a dire situation, they just bought tickets to the Titanic coming from a time machine, so to speak.

  12. Marc Saunders
    6th February 2014, 13:08

    I believe the Renault engine won´t work properly during all this year, and next year all his customers will mount Mercedes engines, even Red Bull. Honda will have the same issues as Renault next year.

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