Renault bringing “temporary fixes” to Bahrain after power unit problems

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Renault engine bosses Cyril Abiteboul and Remi Taffin have said that temporary fixes will be used in Bahrain this weekend to try and prevent a repeat of the French marque’s power unit problems that blighted the Chinese Grand Prix.

Red Bull’s Daniil Kvyat and Toro Rosso’s Max Verstappen were both forced to retire from the race in Shanghai last weekend due to component failures on their Renault power units.

Speaking ahead of this weekend’s race in Bahrain, Abiteboul confirmed that temporary fixes had been put in place, but said that there could be no guarantee about the reliability of the Renault engines.

“We don’t take the issues we have seen lightly, but we have taken genuine steps forward and need to focus on our continuing programme of improvements while addressing the reliability concerns in parallel,” Abiteboul said.

“In the short time since the Chinese Grand Prix, we have been checking and rechecking systems and procedures to implement fixes for the next race in Bahrain.

“Due to logistics of the back to back races a complete guarantee will be difficult but we have made improvements to prevent the race stoppers we saw in China.”

Building on Abiteboul’s comments, Taffin revealed that Renault Sport is yet to get to the root of one of the power unit failures in China.

“A significant part of our preparations for this race have been and continues to be analyzing the issues from China,” Taffin said. “As a consequence, we will have to make some late calls.

“We now know that the failures on Kvyat and Verstappen’s ICEs [internal combustion engines] are different and unfortunately one of them was known but built in when the ICE was introduced early on.

“The other is still to be fully explained and temporary fixes will be used in Sakhir.”

Renault has faced a great deal of criticism so far in 2015, with Red Bull even saying that it is considering quitting F1 due to the severity of its engine supplier’s problems. However, Renault appears to be happy in the sport, and is even considering the acquisition of an existing team.

For full broadcast details for this weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix, click here.

Helio Castroneves ‘hustling’ for IndyCar, IMSA rides; talking with four to five teams

Helio Castroneves IMSA IndyCar
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As his season gathers steam, Helio Castroneves said his prospects for finding new rides for 2021 in IMSA and IndyCar also are gaining momentum.

The three-time Indianapolis 500 winner said Monday he is optimistic about landing in either or perhaps a combination of both series when Team Penske and Acura end their DPi partnership after this season.

“A lot of people I spoke with, four to five teams, are interested,” Castroneves said. “Whether it’s doing Indy 500 only, whether it’s pushing to do full time or do the sports cars as well. It’s been a very nice conversation.

LOOKING AHEADTeam Penske drivers seeking new rides for 2021

“I have a lot of respect for all the teams that have been talking, and I feel the same feedback. We just have to wait for their (sponsor) connections, and I’m also looking for some connections on my side as well, so hopefully we’ll be able to put this together and get something very soon.”

Given two decades of success with Penske in IndyCar and IMSA, Castroneves’ resume hardly needs burnishing. But the Brazilian has combined with co-driver Ricky Taylor in the No. 7 Acura DPi to win the past two overall victories at Road America and Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.

But Castroneves, who doesn’t have a manager, said he has been working the phones hard rather than wait for the strong results to bring in the calls.

“At this point, I feel like I’m the one who needs to be talking to them because people need to know I want to continue racing and understand my desire,” Castroneves, 45, said. “There is opportunity, no question, in both (IndyCar and IMSA), which I’m really happy about it. However, because of the COVID-19, a lot of things sometimes have to be a little delayed. But I’m excited. Whatever the opportunity and whatever destiny guides me, whether IndyCar or sports cars, trust me I’ll be as happy as it could be and doing my 100 percent like I always did.

“It’s like politics, you need to be out there, good news or bad news. People have to make notice of your presence. I’m hustling. I want to continue to keep it going. Hopefully, we’ll have good news very soon.”

The news has been all good lately on track for Castroneves and Taylor, who hope to continue their run Sunday at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

The No. 6 duo has surged to sixth in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship standings, 10 points out of the lead with four races remaining. After thinking there was “no hope” to be competitive after opening the season with three consecutive poor finishes, Taylor now sees an opportunity for a happy ending.

“With the program going away, Helio has won all the big races and given so much back to the team and left such a mark, he’s really part of Penske history,” Taylor said. “For me, it’s been an opportunity of a lifetime to be a part of it. I’d like to leave my little mark as well. Helio has won everything except for a championship.

“Obviously, we’ve won races already together, but we can win a championship now. I think if both of us can do that together and both win our first championship for ‘The Captain,’ that would be an absolute dream come true, and we can tie a bow on it and be happy.”