‘We seem to have gone backwards’ – Renault

2015 Australian Grand Prix

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Renault concede they appear to be less competitive than last year following their unsuccessful Australian Grand Prix.

The highest Renault-powered car at the finish was Daniel Ricciardo, who was lapped by the dominant Mercedes. He only managed nine laps of running on Friday before suffering an engine failure, and another Renault power unit died in the back of Max Verstappen’s Toro Rosso during the race.

“We know that we made genuine progress over the winter but we could not show it here and in fact we would even seem to have moved backwards,” admitted Renault’s managging director Cyril Abiteboul.

However he suggested the fixes to some of their problem may be straightforward. “Given the pace at which we conducted our development programme towards the last few weeks of the winter, there may not be lots to change to be able to access these improvements.”

Renault said Ricciardo and Verstappen’s failures were not related. However they have another major concern in terms of the drive-ability of their power units.

“The biggest issue has been the driveability, which has made it hard for all the drivers to feel comfortable in the cars,” said director of operations Remi Taffin.

“It affects pedal application and confidence in the corners so has cost lap time and points this weekend. It’s related to the maps, or the way the power unit is configured, so while it’s definitely not an easy fix, it does not require a complete redesign.”

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    Keith Collantine
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    64 comments on “‘We seem to have gone backwards’ – Renault”

    1. One more year like this and Red Bull is surely out of F1.

      1. “Red Bull-Ferrari”

      2. “Red Bull Audi”

        1. Graham (@guitargraham)
          15th March 2015, 14:12

          VAG arent going anywhere near F1 whilst Bernie is still about. Ferdinand Piëch, VAG’s big boss, has pretty much said that for years and years

      3. One more year like what? The first race of the season? Still a long way to go.

        I don’t buy that the Renault engine is bad, that the Red Bull chassis was out-quallied by Torro Rosso speaks volumes. Red Bull should be embarrassed, and I’m surprised people are so ready to accept this deflection of blame.

        As for reliability that can strike any engine, team, car or driver at any time, let alone the first race of the season, way too early to draw any conclusions about how reliable an engine is.

        1. @skipgamer: +1. And the “deflection of blame” comment is spot on.

      4. Red Bull’s contract states that they have committed to Formula 1 until 2020. I don’t know if there are any ways around that, like Renault taking over the team or something, but it seems unlikely that they will be able to leave F1 in the next 5 years.

        However, Helmut Marko has just said that “If the cost-benefit calculation no longer makes sense, we have thought about an exit scenario.” Whether that’s just an empty threat in order to provoke rule changes out of the fear of losing 4 cars (RB+STR), or a very serious statement, I don’t know.

        1. I hope that Helmut Marko’s threat is serious and he means every word that he says so that the FIA wake up to themselves and change the rules so that we have competition and racing in F1 and not this rules festival of dramatic scenarios that are a joke. If F1 is not prepared to change then I hope the whole FIA and F1 fall into a miserable heap and fail.

      5. If Red Bull quits when the going gets tough, good riddance to them. Quitters don’t deserve to be champions. Period. Their whining and complaining is showing just how classless many in that organization truly are. The constructors agreed to the rule changes…now they’re not getting a result because Mercedes has nailed them to the wall, they want to cry, quit, and take their toys home with them. Tough. I hated when I learned F1 was going to blown V6’s…I couldn’t understand it. I still don’t understand it. But the teams agreed, so don’t moan and whine now. You had every opportunity to do things differently…you chose your path, and Mercedes made the best of it. You were outengineered, now you simply want out. So be it. Good riddance to rubbish that can’t cut it when the going gets tough.

        1. I meant turbo 6’s.

    2. Would have thought by now Red Bull would be pitching to VW or maybe even Porsche or Audi to become an engine supplier. But it’s too late, can’t see a new manufacturer coming into F1 until the next change to the rules.

      1. VW group won’t enter while Bernie is in charge, can’t remember the source, I think it was BBC, by the way Audi is part of the VW group, as is Porsche

      2. @ivz I think they probably did quite recently but Audi ruled it out. @broke84 is correct.

      3. @ivz The problem is Audi and Porsche are part of VW, and VW won’t do business with a certain Mr. Ecclestone as he is completely unethical, at least from a German point of view. Renault’s performance is shocking considering how closely they worked with Red Bull last year to pull out three wins and a passel of podiums. I believe hybrid power is here to stay so even a new engine formula might not solve the problem. Perhaps Cosworth could be enticed to rejoin the battle?

        1. Graham (@guitargraham)
          15th March 2015, 14:14

          thats right. Ferdinand Piëch has always said that he’d never associate with Bernie

        2. @curmudgeon, Porsche themselves stated back in 2014 that, if VW hadn’t approved their request to enter the World Endurance Championship, they would have begun working on an F1 spec engine instead.

          Furthermore, VW sent representatives to the original negotiations over the hybrid engines and helped create the current regulations – Newey has stated in the past that the only reason for four cylinder engines was to appease VW’s representatives, who demanded four cylinder engines as an entry condition because it suited their marketing campaigns better (only for VW to then walk out of the negotiations anyway).

          Those factors would suggest that the reason for VW’s absence has little to do with business ethics – cynically, I would suggest it is because VW knows it has more leverage over the ACO than the FIA (even Audi have hinted that some of the ACO’s rule changes in the past were designed to favour them over independents and other manufacturers).

          1. Tom Sherrill
            15th March 2015, 15:01

            Huh? The current formula is a V6.

            1. Yes, but originally it was supposed to be an inline four.

          2. Typical Germans they always have wanted everything their own way even when MB was so dominant pre war. I thought that motor racing is supposed to have competition and improvement through the season, you know “racing makes the breed better”, what has happened to all that?

    3. The whining has begun – http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/118078

      This is exactly why F1 needs private teams! I din’t hear whining from McLaren who is doing something to beat Mercs. I didn’t hear whining from Sauber last year, who were stuck with Ferrari engines. RBR is being quite arrogant, blaming others for their own problems. They chose Renault as their “works” engine and it didn’t work out… This just feel so arrogant and wrong to be so sour and start blaming FIA and others.

      1. Agreed – Horner et al are behaving like spoilt brats. If they put as much effort into their car as they do their self righteous moaning they’d likely be much closer to Mercedes. Perhaps they should look to their sister team for a few tips…

        If there need to be any rule changes, they should happen between seasons. And they should be targeted at fairness, not at reigning in one team. Isn’t this the point of sport? That hard work and dedication are rewarded?

        1. It has nothing to do with RBR this is a renault problem. RBR probably have the most competitive chasis and aero. The problem lies with the regulations that are geared towards the power unit

          1. Then why were Torro Rosso considerably faster all weekend?

      2. @f1lauri & @fluxsource Let us not forget other teams did exactly the same when RB was ahead…

        It’s just more sensational news coming from RB as they have a bigger hate-base…

        1. @xtwl

          After the first race of the season? Hardly. And I seem to recall that when Brawn arrived with their double diffuser the other teams worked hard to develop their own, instead of insisting it was banned.

          I’m not anti-Red Bull per se, but any time someone seems to insist they have an inherent right to be at the front of the grid it gets my back up. I’d would also have thought that considering there’s pretty much zero hope of them getting a Merc or Ferrari engine they’d be a bit nicer about their relationship with Renault. Especially as Red Bull is the only reason for Renault to be in F1 now.

          1. @fluxsource Renault and RB are most likely also working 24/7. But any team principal will play any card to get his team to the front. I’m not saying they are right at all but I find it small minded to say this is ‘typical’ RB whilst every team would do it…

          2. Sorry, but with the double diffusor the other teams DEFINITELY insisted it was banned. They started a procedure to have it deemed illegal.

        2. What other teams? The only other team that does this, is Ferrari. Ferrari and Red Bull the two spoiled brats of F1 and friends of Bernie.
          Mclaren came last for God sakes and says nothing of the sort. They simply say “we will work our way out of it”.

      3. For once in my life i will agree with Horner! Red Bull never had this level of dominance just because of PU like Merc has right now.Renault engine was one of the weaker ones even in those years when they dominated and they just had much better overall package and in many races much better strategy with pit stops and everything so they won what they won.This is simply ridiculous what we have now and i would also like to say that i don’t think that customer teams get same PU like Merc team.For the “whining” part mentioned….how many times were rules changed even in mid season to limit Red Bull dominance?I admit i don’t like finger boy and his years of dominance in F1 but what we have now in total absurd!They should ditch these ridiculous COSTLY Toyota Prius wannabe engines and go back to normal,naturally aspirated cheaper engines. Or just bring more testing or cancel retarded in season testing ban and bring unlimited testing.Then maybe we would have more cars on the grid then we have now.If proper testing is allowed Manor would maybe race today and we could have different Mclaren-Honda debut!

        1. @dex022

          How life their with your head buried in the sand? Without these new engines neither Mercedes nor Renault would be involved in F1. Ferrari would be the only engine supplier (Honda don’t count yet, are without the rule change are unlikely to have become involved). As for calling the engines “Toyota Prius wannabe engines” do you actually follow this sport? These engines are phenomenal – buckets of torque, power when you need it, all done while using very little fuel. They’re the best engines F1 has seen.

          Suggesting that Mercedes are supplying different engines to customer teams is misguided – that’s the point of homologation. By doing so Mercedes would be clearly cheating, and it is very easy to check. What they’ve done is a better job with the car overall – if it was just the PU the other Mercedes powered teams would be just a quick.

          These engines are the best thing that’s happened to F1 in a long time. I just wish the dinosaurs would realise it.

          1. So what if Ferrari would be only supplier? So what? Nobody like this engines from very start and i don’t say nothing about 20 year old road BWM car sound much better.They cost too much anyway and if you like this current stuff in F1 i don’t really care.I don’t like it and viewing date are pretty much clear where this all circus is going in near future.

            1. @dex022

              No one likes the engines? Really? You’re speaking on behalf of EVERYONE?

              You don’t like the engines so everyone else’s opinion doesn’t matter to you. Is your name Bernie?

              THIS kind of attitude is what is damaging the sport. Well, this and stupid court cases.

            2. Actually i’ve liked the engines from the very start.

            3. I missed 19000rpm V10 s. Those were the best F1 engines.

        2. Not sure if I agree. If it’s only PU, the other Mercedes teams wouln’t be that far behind. Furthermore, the other Merc teams have higher straight line speed.

          The Mercedes is just an incredibly good car, on all fronts.

      4. And this is why Mclaren and Williams deserve respect that nether Red Bull or Ferrari deserve. They simply put their heads down and work instead of start throwing threads, demands etc.

    4. Horner asking FIA to intervene & equalize the advantage Mercedes have, also lambasting Renault. Why does Mercedes have to concede their hard earned advantage?
      Couple this to his recent suggestion on twin turbo solution or banning wind tunnels, one may think RBR is losing the plot.

      1. Unless you want Mercedes to have a massive engine advantage for the foreseeable future then go for it by any means once this is locked down. Renault have done a rubbish job, that’s why. They are worse off than last year, even more down on power, drivability issues, reliability problems and no progress at all. Makes you wonder what Renault have done all winter while Ferrari have improved their engine massively using only 2 tokens less. What is the point of racing when you can’t overtake a car when you have DRS open and they have it closed despite having a better chassis? Might as well go home, it will be even worse once we get to other tracks.

        Mercedes should concede for the good of the sport, if you think RB dominating then was fun, Merc is even worse when you consider the gaps.

        Despite all Horner’s whining, every other aero team had every chance within the aero regulations over a seasons of development to catch up. Renault are handicapped as development is pretty much frozen every year so where is the chance to catch up? I think if Renault had the same engine as Merc/Ferrari and RB was midfield still Horner would not be whining. That’s RB’s job to get it better, RB’s chassis is definitely not as good as the Mercs right now.

    5. I’m always a fan of the underdog until fierce competition arises! I am disappointed with the Renault PU and hope they can figure something out for the sport of F1.

    6. I think they’re in for a much bigger surprise once Honda are able to run that engine reliably and efficiently at 100%.

    7. So what’s next? Mario Illien announcing he move’s on because he is ashamed to worth with Renault?

    8. Hopefully Merc just put both cars in slowest mode from now on so the win by 20 secs instead. It would kill me if F1 stopped Merc and slowed the engine, they can not do that. I believe Merc would pull out of F1 if it happens. And so they should. They have already changed the rules this year so people can catch up, and what a suprise as some said Merc would be even faster.

    9. Everyone has been saying that the Merc advantage is down to the engine. This clearly isn’t true: the gap to other Mercedes-powered teams is the first piece of evidence for this. The unsurprising calls for rule changes to reign them in have revealed the true source of their advantage: they’re a better team. Change the rules, and every time Mercedes will work together, and work hard, to get the most from them.

      I hope Red Bull get their call for more rule changes. Mercedes will just extend their lead even further, and show Red Bull up for what they really are: has beens.

      1. Aye, take one look at Speed Traps, Williams have just fine power from their PU. Mercedes have pulled all the stops for last 5-6 years and now they are reaping very large rewards. Pretty much total domination. Mercedes Benz as a company is on a roll for last years, clearly in midst of a golden age.

        Renault cannot engineer F1 engines on the same level. And seem to fail at making gains while at it. Toro Roso was better than RBR atleast on surface… which is just strange.

        Neither can Ferrari, but atleast they upgrade better and managed to fix lasts year “clearly a mistake” sacrifice, sacrificing power for aero gains. Today they proved They are a clear #2 team second to Mercedes.

        Honda is a guess, Ron Denis says 1 year behind, which is accurate… they are on Renault level from one year ago. We’ll see in a year then if they turn in to Ferrari or Renault. And that is Honda largest engine maker in the world.

        What could Audi/VW/Porsche or BMW do? Imagine the PR disaster if they enter and are like Honda? If they are to gain anything, they got to enter first race and be there or better then Mercedes. I seriously doubt they would be anywhere near Mercedes level for first few years. So few years of 300-500 million/year investment per year for potentially damaging their brands. It is no wonder RBR cannot convince them to enter F1.

        Bernie quote is just smoke, “We wont enter because Bernie is running the show unethically”, they wont enter it because they fear loosing to Mercedes. So they enter more obscure race series where they can win.

        State as it is is hurting RBR aswell, since their current success level probably does not give them commercial returns that #1 provided. By end of Mercedes Era RBR might aswell be a Toro Roso like team, and Toro Roso bought by Renault?

        Next Challenge then will come from Ferrari or Honda. I bet Ferrari/Vettel has best chance to take fight to Mercedes, most likely following another rule revolution.

    10. The problem has less to do with Renault than with Red Bull. At the back of the Toro Rosso, and especially in the hands of Sainz during this race, it’s doing alright. No, the problem is that in comparison to its rivals, the RB-11 is a step back just like the McLaren MP4-29 and Ferrari F-14T were in 2014. This was obvious in pre-season testing only people chose to ignore it and attributed it to RB “sandbagging”, so unthinkable did it seem that Red Bull would not produce a superlative car. Like McLaren in 1991, Williams in 1998 and Ferrari in 2009, the winning streak has run out and left Red Bull behind.

      On the evidence of Australia, Red Bull may find themselves beaten in the CWC not only by Mercedes, Ferrari and Williams, but also by Lotus, Sauber and Force India with Toro Rosso their fiercest rival. Once McLaren sort out their gremlins, I expect them to sail past Red Bull with ease.

    11. I hope Renault get their act together, for the sake of the racing. For the sake of the main supplier of crocodile tears in F1, less so.

    12. Horner claims that F1 needs equalization because in the past rules were made to take away RBR vantages when they dominated, what he fails to realize is that is one thing to change a rule because a team has found a way to take advantage of this rule or there is a loophole in the rule book that FIA staff didn’t notice until is too late and teams build their cars in a different manner FIA intended them to. Almost every team that dominated the sport had to face some rules with the intention of closing the field, they aren’t the first ones to face something like this.

      Basically Horner wants Mercedes punished just for the “sin” of doing a better job then RBR-Renault, i wonder if the roles were reversed he would want an equalization.

      1. Offcorse not :D That’s the name of the game. Hurt everyone else, hurt the sport, just make rules fit me me me!

    13. Red Bull made it through last season just fine with three wins, even if they had massive amount of problems in winter tests. But seriously, I would have expected them to be better this time. Let’s see how much they can improve their performance.

    14. Four engine in 20 races, while Max already has one dead so he have to do more then 6 races on each engine, I think he might need two extra engine during this season

    15. I understand Horner’s problems but I really can’t agree with him and I’m already a little sick of all this “Renault’s fault”. Instead of blaming this and blaming that try to work even better and faster, even if you don’t sleep for some nights. RB is seen as a TOP team but this is not a top team behaviour.

      Ferrari had a really bad year in 2014, but they changed their way of working and solved some “team problems”, and are now starting to come back, slow but at least they did something different to get better. McLaren could also just blame Honda all day because of the very poor start of the year, but no! They are realistic but keep being optimistic that together and with a lot of work and motivation they will do a better job.

      So just stop being publicly harsh with Renault (leave that to the private reunions) and try to work better overall with them in trying to find a solution!

      1. Have you seen Newey’s interview with the Guardian? What do you think Horner and co have been doing? Newey said they’ve been trying to engage Renault for a long time and Renault have just shrugged and ignored them so maybe people should think about it the other way because so many fans still seem have resentment towards the team for those years that they dominated rather than seeing the big picture.

        1. Well if that’s really true, they still can make something to try and be better! Or take the risk like McLaren and change the engine manufacturer or they can do it themselves.. money it’s not a problem for them even if Horner it’s trying to say so.

          Because complain about something that isn’t working won’t solved it!

        2. And I really don’t care specially for any team, so RB domination is normal for me like it was Ferrari and Mercedes now. But seeing someone always complaining isn’t good for the sport neither for the team itself!

          1. @key75 But again, that is no a unique situation. All teams do their fair share of complaining.

            1. @xtwl I agree! But I never saw someone complain so much and especially in the first race of the season!!!! It was the same last year and they still won 3 races, so why complain so much? Be a little more humble, sometimes big teams have bad times (aka Ferrari last year, McLaren, Williams, etc) and try to look for a better solution.

          2. Ferrari? Are you joking. Remember Montezemelo and his taxi driving and meetings with Bernie and embarrassment after a great race in Bahrain?
            Ferrari and Red Bull have the same attitude, they want to win threw politic and influence and threads. Other teams deserve ten times more respect that those two cheater teams.

    16. this whole thing about driveability, it seems so interlinked with engine mapping, i believe it is akin to traction control. look at the mercedes, no wheel spin in any acceleration zone, that is not the driver being perfect controlling 800hp, that is engine mapping, why isnt the engine mapping controlled by the FIA? it is obvious it works like traction control, just with a different name.

      1. Engine mapping is NOT traction control. Never was, never will be.

        Traction control is a function of detected wheel slip and manipulating the fuel air and spark to compensate.

        Engine mapping is finding the optimal power band, delivering the right amount of power at the appropriate RPM range based on the throttle input.

        It should be the goal of every team to produce a superior engine map that allows their drivers to succeed, as opposed to some arbitrary standardized programming. And considering how tight rules and regs currently are, it’s one of the few areas left for teams to really leverage their skills.

        1. We have no idea how the current PU components actually communicate with each other or how much digitisation of the drive by wire system is actually in place. These are no longer simply an ICE unit that has an optimal power band, they are a two phase unit, with the electric side of the unit creating maximum torque from very low revs. The power unit mapping in this phase of the power delivery could most definitely be used as a slip management system.

    17. I hope Horner’s leadership within the team is better than “this isn’t good enough” that we hear going out to Renault.
      I think Abiteboul is doing his best to stay focused in the face of extreme childishness from the boys at RBR and I’m sure Renault will sort their problems out. Frankly if they just pulled the plug entirely it would be what RBR deserve with their current attitude. I’d love it if the Torro Rossi boys keep fighting them all year!

    18. Wayne melville
      16th March 2015, 10:32

      whilst i dont agree with the way horner/ rbr is complaining, i believe these engine rules are killing this sport. My reasons for this are ( after going to the aus gp)
      1. The 4 engine rule promotes as little running as possible so as to try and last out the year without penalties which almost render friday irrelevant and boring.
      2. The cost of these engines ( at over 4 times the cost) is killing budgets and in turn privateer teams.
      3. The tokens idea, whilst admirable means that if a manufacturer is well behind it will not be able to catch up if the problems are not electronically based but are mechanicaly based.
      I would rather see the following thing implemented
      A. Friday is not counted in the engine limit thus promoting friday running
      B. Set a capped price for engine supply to give the privateers a chance to compete ( i know they will normally be beaten but if they still have a reasonable budget left they might occasionally spring a suprise or at least have half a chance)
      3. If we are going to use tokens for development then give the most tokens to the least powerfull motor and less to the most powerfull( the fia knows the output of each motor as they have torque measuring on every car.
      Or standardise the energy recovery systems and maybe even the turbo on all manufacturers which should lower costs and lessen the difference between the best and worst internal combustion engines to something like a max of 20 to 30 hp which is manageable on track where as the current differences would be in the order of 80-100 hp which is not manageable no matter how good the car design and engineering are.

      Just my thoughts because if it does not change then i believe a lot of fans will leave formula 1 or at the least will not attend races as it is not offering anything like the entertainment it was 5 years ago where i think the number of car/laps would have to be at least 50 % more than this year over the whole weekend and the gaps between most of the field was smaller


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