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Engine disease at Renault: two engine failures, two points

Renault engine disease
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D he Red Bull teams' China record is devastating. Four cars, two championship points, two engine failures, plus three drivers who have to compete with the third of four power sources. Renault picked up the fragments of an incredible series of defects after the Grand Prix.

Daniil Kvyat and Max Verstappen failed due to the same defect. 'We had that once before last year and also before this season. It's a weak point that we know and that we have to remedy as soon as possible,' reveals sporting director Cyril Abiteboul. It is obviously a vulnerable spur gear set. Like Ricciardo in Melbourne. It has not yet been determined whether Renault will be able to make the necessary modifications before the Bahrain GP. And if not? 'Close your eyes and through. What else should we do?' Asks team boss Christian Horner desperately.

Changing the engine before the start

Daniel Ricciardo almost dropped out too. He was lucky that Renault engineers saw alarming values ​​in telemetry the night before the Grand Prix. His V6 turbo was swapped on Sunday morning. 'We have to check the engine in Paris to see if it can still be saved.'

The problem was different from that of Kvyat and Verstappen. Increased pressure in the cooling system suggests the repetition of a new ailment: cracks in the liners. Mercedes also had the problem during the winter test drives. It's a topic that all engine manufacturers are working on. More engine speed, higher boost pressure and a wider engine speed range increase the pressure pulses on the pistons and liners.

Soon there will be penalties for Kvyat, Ricciardo and Verstappen

It's all on fire. At Red Bull and Toro Rosso, there is no longer any illusion. The drivers will soon get fines because the engine contingent is almost exhausted. Nevertheless, Renault does not change the schedule.

Red Bull and Toro Rosso prefer to accept a penalty on the starting grid for the fifth drive unit, instead of starving themselves for the season with reduced power with the two remaining engines. 'We saw with Vettel last year that you can still score points,' remembers Marko of the US GP in Austin.

The engine loss also creates a second problem. Until the third engine, Renault couldn’t have oneInstall 12 development tokens. But this is not a priority, as Abiteboul emphasizes. 'We have greatly improved the drivability. That added half a second to the lap time. Our drive source has to be stable up to the sixth race in Monaco. Only then can we start the development program. Now to change something on the engine for the sake of changing, makes no sense. Reliability comes first, then horsepower. '

Too many construction sites at once

Abiteboul doesn't want to gloss over anything. He knows that there is pressure on the boiler in Paris. 'We had to solve so many problems in a short period of time that the current source of damage has been neglected. But we know the solution.' And why weren't the necessary modifications built into the second engines? 'Because we had to bring the second engines earlier than planned. Of course, they came from the same lot as the first.'

Renault's engine epidemic reached Red Bull at the wrong time. Last year's vice world champion had just started to catch up. Modifications to the front wing and the brakes improved the car when turning and the balance in fast corners. The more harmonious power delivery improved the traction.

The drivers have confidence in their RB11 again. Renault cannot explain the performance deficit between the test bench and reality either. Abiteboul doubts whether it is as big as Red Bull stated. 'With these complex engines, test bench measurements are always subject to errors. We only trust the torque sensors to a limited extent. Our benchmark is the lap time. And if we take this, the horsepower deficit compared to our competitors is not as great as communicated.'

Chain dog Marko was unusually mild after the bankruptcy of Shanghai: 'If there is a lack of performance and stability problems, that makes the task twice as difficult. We now have to solve the problems as quickly as possible, but solidly together.'


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