Renault: Some progress made, more to come this week

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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).

Weather prompts INDYCAR to move up start time of today’s race in Alabama

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The scheduled starting time for today’s Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park has been moved up due to inclement weather in the Birmingham, Alabama area.

The command to start engines is now scheduled for 3:01 p.m. ET, rather than the previous scheduled start of 3:35 p.m. ET. The race, which is expected to take the green flag at 3:08 p.m. ET,  will be carried live on NBCSN.

In addition, the INDY LIGHTS race, previously scheduled to start at 1 p.m. ET, saw its starting time moved up to 11:45 a.m. ET.

According to several different weather forecasts, thunderstorms are predicted for the afternoon, with some forecasts calling for up to 100 percent chance of storms.

The rain is expected to continue into the evening and on into Monday.

INDYCAR officials are monitoring the very fluid situation and further schedule adjustments could be made.

We’ll keep readers up to date on further changes here on MotorSportsTalk.