After a dismal start to F1′s pre-season just under three weeks ago at Jerez, uncertainty reigns over just how big Renault’s issues are.
The French engine supplier has since completed a further three days of running, completing two ‘filming’ days with Lotus again in Spain and another with Toro Rosso at Italy’s Misano circuit.
Again reports of how successful they were are varied with the generalconsensus pointing to one very poor and another very successful day with Lotus followed by a problematic day with Toro Rosso handily sat between the two.
After the events of Jerez, Red Bull bosses, who stormed back to England on the third day of four such was their issues, were seemingly not pleased with their engine supplier. Indeed it is believed a verbal exchange took place between Chief Designer Adrian Newey and Renault’s Rob White.
This later sparked a comment from Gian Carlo Minardi, founder of the team that bared his name and ironically is now Toro Rosso, who believed Red Bull is already looking at finding an alternative supplier for 2015.
One rather farfetched rumour pointed at Cosworth who – despite leaving F1 at the end of 2013 following Marussia’s move to Ferrari power – have developed its own V6 turbo unit, while another even suggested the Red Bull and their title sponsor Infiniti could go off and make their own.
That final point is interesting given the level of speculation last year that Red Bull wanted to re-brand their engines after their title sponsor who is the luxury car division of Renault partner Nissan.
Despite that all sides are confidently pushing the talk to one side believing the issues of Jerez were merely a blip.
“I know nothing about that,” Renault Sport head Remi Taffin replied when asked by Sport Bild about the speculation.
“We are currently working very closely with Red Bull, and several teams of (Red Bull) engineers are even at our base in Viry and working on the integration of the power unit and chassis.”
One of the key men in another such decision would likely be Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko; he too however denied any such talk of reconsideration.
“We have a long term contract with Renault, which is of course linked with our results on the track,” he said which perhaps opened up a slight chink of truth to the talk.
“Nevertheless, we are not going to panic and are making a joint effort to solve the problems,” he added firmly closing it again, for now.
Of course one man desperate for a swift about turn in Renault’s fortune’s is world champion Sebastian Vettel.
The German was a stony-faced as anyone perhaps wishing he’d stayed at home and given the whole week to his new partner Daniel Ricciardo, however he hopes he won’t have too much time to work on a tan in the desert of Bahrain this week.
“Of course the Jerez test did not go the way we wanted,” he said spelling out the obvious.
“Other teams did a lot more kilometres and that was important because we are talking about completely new technology.
“But it’s better to have the problems in testing than at the races.
“Hopefully the situation in Bahrain will already be better, and I’ll have a car not only that goes around the track, but that I can use at full throttle.”
Of course there is a final aspect to all this, which is though the original story didn’t come from Red Bull, rather than outsider merely giving his opinion, the sheer thought of Red Bull giving up on Renault after one test following the four years of success they have enjoyed would simply smack of hypocrisy.
Surely Red Bull could never be accused of that, could they?
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