Renault: Some progress made, more to come this week

Leave a comment

Renault Sport F1 deputy managing director, technical, Rob White, said the engine manufacturer made some key strides this past week in Bahrain, but said there’s still a long ways to go before they’re satisfied with where they are on their power unit.

Energy Store changes were primarily hardware-related, and Power Unit changes primarily software-related. White explains more in detail via a Q&A on the official Formula One website.

“We have solved some problems and revealed some others,” White explained. “We are not back on schedule but we are moving in the right direction – the running we have done is very valuable. The challenge is to improve the rate of progress, because the gap to where we wanted to be at this stage remains substantial.”

The Bahrain test was not a chance for Renault to nail pace as yet.  The manufacturer’s best time, set Saturday by Lotus’ Pastor Maldonado, was more than five seconds off the pace of overall leader Nico Rosberg in the Mercedes W05.

If engine development is behind, so too is chassis work, White said.

“The immaturity of the PU combined with the time lost to incidents, means the chassis work to prepare for the season is also behind schedule,” he said. “From this point on we must pursue and accelerate an upward curve.”

Renault’s four teams: Red Bull, Lotus, Toro Rosso and Caterham, will have four more days this week to make those strides.

Testing restarts Thursday in Bahrain, as the last test session before the Australian Grand Prix weekend. Practice for that is set to begin Thursday night, March 13 (Friday in Melbourne).

Kanaan, Dixon to rejoin Chip Ganassi Le Mans effort

Photo: Getty Images
Leave a comment

Both Scott Dixon and Tony Kanaan will be rejoining Ford Chip Ganassi Racing as part of their four-car armada at the 2018 24 Hours of Le Mans, the team revealed late last week. Both drivers contested the event last year, with Dixon in the No. 69 entry – finishing seventh in the GTE Pro class – while Kanaan replaced an injured Sebastien Bourdais in the No. 68 – finishing sixth in GTE Pro.

For Kanaan, this also represents a return to the Chip Ganassi organization, with which he contested the Verizon IndyCar Series from 2014 to 2017 before departing for A.J. Foyt Racing in 2018.

Kanaan will join Andy Priaulx and Harry Tincknell in the No. 67, while Dixon will reunite with Ryan Briscoe and Richard Westbrook, the three drivers having won the Rolex 24 at Daytona in January, in the No. 69.

Stefan Mücke, Olivier Pla, and Billy Johnson will share the No. 66 entry, with Joey Hand, Dirk Müller, and Sebastien Bourdais in the No. 68.

Follow@KyleMLavigne