Renault: “Cocktail of problems” in 2015 taught us plenty

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Renault Sport director of operations Remi Taffin believes that three main factors created a “cocktail of problems” for the French manufacturer in Formula 1 this year.

Renault spent much of the season battling criticism from customer teams Red Bull and Toro Rosso due to a number of issues with its power unit that prompted the energy drinks giant to threaten to quit the sport.

Ultimately, Red Bull was forced into sticking with Renault power units for 2016 – albeit rebranded as TAG Heuer – but the issues did cause the manufacturer to also consider its place in F1.

In an interview on the Renault Sport website, Taffin explored the problems that blighted Red Bull’s efforts throughout the season, but is certain that such issues will not occur again in the future.

“We arrived at the first winter test believing that we had made a big step forward between seasons,” Taffin said. “We genuinely thought that we had done a good job.

“It was the case in certain areas, but we were caught out in three principal ways. The first was a significant reliability problem with the pistons. We had not seen the particular issue in any of the testing conducted and all the parts were signed off in the usual way.

“The other issue was that we had another part inside the PU electronics that we could not put our finger on and it continued to be a source of problems.

“The final element is that we braked so late for 2015, taking decisions until the last possible moment. The specification of PU for the first race was determined very late in the day and quite simply we braked too late, and we weren’t ready.

“We wanted to make up the gap so badly that we pulled the rug out from under our own feet. But this particular cocktail of problems did allow us to learn a lot and make sure that the same issues will not reoccur in the future.”

Renault will return to F1 in 2016 with its own works team after agreeing to buy Lotus, but it will no longer supply Toro Rosso after the team elected to switch to 2015-spec Ferrari engines for the new season.