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Problem alternator: Renault is getting closer to the solution

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Alternator problem
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S ebastian Vettel can't breathe easy yet. The alternator, which has already cost him two races, will keep him busy. Renault and manufacturer Magneti Marelli modified the susceptible alternator again, but there is still no certainty that it will last.

If it passes the test on Friday, then Vettel can thank Jérôme d'Ambrosio . Its structurally identical alternator could be saved from total meltdown in Monza. And that gave rise to new suspicions.

Alternator destroys itself

Renault engineer Remi Taffin explains: 'We have noticed higher wear on some components inside the alternator and are pretty sure which part comes first breaks. We still don't know why. ' Positive insight: 'We now know what we have to work on.'

Renault has reconstructed the course of the damage as follows: 'The part in question runs beyond the specified tolerances. The rotor is affected and more electrical power is required, which in turn increases the temperature. Then the other components come into play Limit and everything swings up to the point of defect. '

The alternator works reliably in a temperature window between 50 and 150 degrees. If the frame is blown up, there will be kindling inside and a reconstruction of the problem is impossible. Since Renault cools the generator with air and oil, there is a risk that particles from the alternator will be washed into the engine circuit with the oil.

Taffin does not confirm rumors that Vettel lost an engine as a result: ' We always stopped in good time. We also installed enough filters so that no metal chips flow back into the engine. ' Taffin makes one thing clear: 'Vettel can't help it. The fact that it has already caught him three times is because he always got a new part installed because of the damage. Statistically speaking, there was a greater chance that it would hit him. '

Red Bull tests new alternator on Friday

Renault has decided on a safety policy based on the latest findings. In Friday practice for the Singapore GP, a modified version of the alternator will be tried out in both Red Bulls, as last used in Spa and Monza. Even if the endurance test goes well, the new alternators will be removed again and in ParisPut through its paces.

If the analysis is satisfactory, the converted alternator will be used in Suzuka for the first time. 'In the race we are driving a version from last year. Our three other customers will do that from Friday,' reveals Taffin. Should one of the 2011 alternators cause trouble, Renault still has to unpack Plan B. 'In that case we would have to use the latest version.'

No 100 percent security

Really? In a Pirelli test with the Renault from 2010 in the week after the Italian GP, ​​alternator damage occurred again. Taffin waves aside: 'The part was over 6,000 kilometers old. The damage in Valencia and Monza occurred between 500 and 1,000 kilometers.'

The history of the alternator is complicated. There are 2011 versions, a 2012 version, a modification to Valencia and the latest attempt to solve the problem. After the failures at Valencia, Renault only changed the operation and running times of the alternator and used components from the 2011 specification. Because the parts ran out at some point, Renault installed a new alternator from the Belgian GP. With 30 percent more power capacity and therefore a longer housing.

Bearing damage destroys the alternator

Taffin did not want to talk about which part is suspected of triggering the damage process. Not until it is entirely certain whether the theory is correct. auto motor und sport has heard that it should be one of the two camps. An alternator basically consists of two bearings, windings and a rotor with magnets. A simple part according to Formula 1 standards.

If the windings get too hot, the protective varnish dissolves and a short circuit occurs. The smaller the diameter of the alternator, the more speed you need to generate the same electricity. You also have to improve the cooling. This is usually done by extending the generator.

Renault wants to continue working with Magneti Marelli

Alleged demands by Red Bull that Renault should replace the supplier Magneti Marelli and thus solve the problem , are rejected by Taffin: 'Nobody has approached us with this request. We don't intend to. We have a longstanding partnership with Magneti Marelli. We know each other, which is an advantage when it comes to problem solving promise: We will solve this problem. ' The only question iswhen.

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