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Archive for the tag “Red Bull”

Thoughts of Japan…and Andrea

Apologies, first of all, for being away from this site for a little bit of time. I’ve been focusing on our fab new studio for The Racer’s Edge (see video below!); and, in addition, there were a couple of systems glitches with WordPress. Anyway, hopefully now all is in order. We’ve got lots of video out there on our YouTube channel (www.youtube.com/peterwindsor) and I’ll be posting some video highlights here, too – plus a little more besides. Subscription to the YouTube channel is free, so please go ahead and sign up with the widget here for your email notifications about all the new posts as they happen.
Here’s our latest video, introduced from our studio within the showroom of Joe Macari Performance Cars, near Wimbledon, London. It’s a breathtaking site full of exquisite machinery, some of which is red, some of which is eclectic. I love it there – and I aim to be sharing much of that passion with you.
In this vid, Rob Wilson gives his expert assessment of the Lewis-Nico battle in Japan; we talk about the amazing Daniel Ricciardo – and we both look back at the fast, irascible but always charming Italian that was Andrea De Cesaris.  This is Andrea playing table-tennis at the Kyalami Ranch in 1984.  Fit guy, too.  Sadly he lost his life in a motor-cycle accident in Rome last weekend.

06-21-2013_40

 

Rob White on a difficult week in Jerez

_X5J7384Rob White (Deputy MD, Technical, Renault Sport F1) is one of those straight-talking engineers who always remind you of the sheer quality of the brain power in an F1 paddock. A former Cosworth man, Rob seems to be neither arrogant nor proud. He’s just an engineer who loves F1 – and who, for the most part, is also very good at what he does. At Jerez this week, though, things didn’t go well for Renault. The problems were high-profile – because of the Red Bull element – and they were seemingly endless. I think it’s typical of Rob that at weeks’s end he lost no time in talking about the issues for the benefit of all:

We have seen very little running from the Renault-engined teams this week. What have the issues been?

We have not run enough laps, and when we have they have not been run at an acceptable performance level.

The underlying causes are not straightforward: there isn’t a single component or system that has caused particular trouble. A number of related things have been troublesome, principally concerning the control and operation of the various sub-systems of the Power Unit within the car.

For example on the first run day, we had problems with a sub-system within the Energy Store that did not directly concern either the battery nor the operation of the battery – it is an electronic part that was in the same housing as the Energy Store.

We subsequently had problems with turbocharger and boost control systems with knock-on effects on the associated engine management systems, subsequently provoking mechanical failures.

What fixes did you implement in Jerez?

Between days one and two, with the help of Red Bull, we implemented a later level of hardware for the rest of the test to address the problem within the Energy Store. This ran for the remaining days.

In parallel to running in Jerez, the team at Viry has run dyno test programs to investigate the trackside problems and to propose solutions.

We identified the probable root cause of our main turbo control issues, implemented some workarounds that were first seen at the end of day three and deployed in the three cars for day four. This established a very minimalist baseline from which we could build._A8C8437

Why were these issues not flagged up on the dyno?

We believed our initial configuration was a robust start point for track use but it has not proved to be the case. We have done substantial dyno running in a similar configuration with few issues. We now know that the differences between dyno and car are bigger than we expected, with the consequence that our initial impressions were incomplete and imperfect.

Our intention was to run the car; we are very frustrated to face this litany of issues that we should have ironed out on the dyno and which have deprived us of a precious learning opportunity.

Have you learned from the limited running?

Absolutely, and at this stage every kilometre is hugely valuable. We recognize that when the cars have run, they are not running at an acceptable level. We are a long way from the type of operation we had planned and prepared for – largely as a result of the workarounds we have implemented – but all the information is useful. In dealing with the issues we have moved further away from the configuration we were comfortable with, which has resulted in the relatively slow times, but the running has given us a vastly greater understanding of the issues we face. We absolutely expect to have a more definitive solution in place for the next session in Bahrain._R6T9498

Has every team experienced the same issues?

Several problems are common to all, as the power unit is the same specification in all the cars except for relatively minor installations differences. Some problems are particular to one installation environment, but it is our responsibility to deal with all of them.

In general, the individual issues are understood; we have worked with all three teams running this week and despite appearances, have made some useful progress. We have not uncovered any big new fundamental problem, although we must recognize that our limited running makes it impossible to be certain.

What is the road map from now until the second test in Bahrain?

Of course we now have a large job list for Bahrain as a lot of the items we wanted to test in Jerez we have not been able to cover. The next stage is to identify the root causes for the problems we experienced, to develop the solutions to strengthen our validation process so we can be more confident to tackle Bahrain in a more normal way.

Are you concerned by the fact that engine specifications are frozen pre-season?

The homologation deadline is the end of February and is fundamental to regulations. Beyond that time, changes are permitted only with prior approval from the FIA. Change is not forbidden, but subject to the sporting regulations and we should not get so hung up on this date.

_R6T9803Remi Taffin faces the media in Jerez

In view of this test, are you still in favour of the new regulations?

Yes absolutely. The powertrain regulations are a massive challenge but also an opportunity, and are hugely important in placing F1 back at the vanguard of technology. We have the necessary tools and determination to succeed.

The step we must take to reach an acceptable level of in-car performance is bigger than we would have liked. It is unacceptable that we have not been able to mitigate the problems sufficiently to allow our partners to run at any length. We are working hard to correct this in time for Bahrain and aim to make amends there.

Images: LAT Photographic

Racing in America

Last week being  US GP week – one of the biggest events on the F1 calendar, with a history going back to Sebring, 1959 – we ran a decidedly American-themed edition of The Racer’s Edge.  It begins in the UK with Jim Clark’s 1966 US GP-winning Lotus 43-BRM and it continues on to Austin Texas, where we looked at some of the elements of the latest US GP venue, at the positioning of F1 in the USA – and where we caught up with a Hollywood actor with more than a passing interest in F1.  Here are all four segments.  The show begins up near Liverpool, not far from Aintree, as it happens.

 

Why Seb is so quick

I was looking through the LAT Photographic website the other day for some nice Red Bull action when I came upon these two images, courtesy of Alastair Staley. They were both taken during the race in India at the Turn 8/9 complex – a right-left change of direction of the type that in recent years has become a Seb Vettel signature section.  I had to look twice, I have to confess, when I noted Seb’s head position. I rang Alastair to confirm that both photos were indeed taken during the race (ie, that Seb wasn’t on a formation lap) and that they were both travelling at racing speed (ie, that they weren’t behind a Safety Car).  As you can see, the two photos captured almost exactly the same piece of road (which was fortunate, because Alastair then moved slightly, rendering further comparisons slightly more difficult). 2013 Indian Grand Prix - Sunday2013 Indian Grand Prix - SundayWhilst Mark is still looking at “the corner”, and looks to be carrying a little more load, Seb is already lining up for T9.  His car also appears to be “flatter” and carrying slightly less lateral load.  As we chatted, Alastair allowed that he had often noticed Seb’s very different mid-corner head position but that it was difficult to capture this. We’re talking a millisecond here, a moment in time.  I dare say that other great drivers have in the past “been able to get their corners over sooner”; it’s only now that we are in the digital age that the law of averages is coming into play. I don’t profess to have all the answers – and nor does Rob Wilson, who openly admits that he is learning something new (about the business of driving) every day. I could think of no-one better than Rob, though, to analyse these two photos. As well as winning all over the world in a variety of motor racing disciplines, Rob has coached, or coaches, many of today’s stars, including Giedo van der Garde, with whom we talk in Part 3 of this week’s show, Valtteri Bottas, Sergio Perez, Pastor Maldonado, Kevin Magnussen and – right back in his Formula Renault days – Kimi Raikkonen.

I think you will enjoy his detailed observations (below) in Part 1 of The Racer’s Edge, Episode 36.

How good is Sebastian Vettel?

In Part Two of this week’s episode of The Racer’s Edge I wanted to chat to a few friends about Sebastian Vettel. Where does he sit amongst the all-time greats? What’s he like as a driver and as a person? How much more does he need to prove? And this provided me, of course, with an excellent opportunity to talk again to one of my heroes – to John Surtees, OBE.  A lovely man and an F1 icon, John (or “Sir John”, as he would be if there was any justice amongst politicians) spoke with all the humility, knowledge and enthusiasm that befits the only man ever to win both motor-cycle and F1 World Championships. I was lucky to catch Sir Jackie Stewart as he was walking his dogs near Lake Geneva; and the phone connection wasn’t bad to Italy, either, where I tracked down one of the wisest of all journalists – Giuseppe “Pino” Allievi.  A Ferrari expert – an F1 expert – Pino did not disappoint.  As well as some intelligent thought about Seb and his place in history, Pino also gives us his view of Ferrari’s driver line-up in the medium-term.

From F3/GP3 straight into F1…

We had a lot of fun with this week’s show, which probably explains why it’s a little bit longer than normal.  So many excellent people with whom to talk!  I won’t give too much away, but suffice to say that we catch up with Scuderia Toro Rosso’s new signing for 2014 (Daniil Kvyat); with the versatile Alex Wurz (after his win for Toyota in last Sunday’s Fuji Six Hours); with the eloquent Karun Chandhok (on the eve of his home Grand Prix, hoping, obviously that the race will be on again in 2015); with the talented Italian, Raffaele Marciello, the new Euro F3 Champion; and, in the studio, keeping me honest, the Editor of F1 Racing, Anthony Rowlinson. In between all of this we also manage to look at some amazing retro F1 colour schemes (as applied to a current F1 car); to see some recent footage shot from a drone over Brands Hatch (it’s amazing, believe me); and to compare start-line reaction times with Pastor Maldonado. But that’s enough of me. Enjoy Episode 34.

 

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