With under a week to go until its lights out in Melbourne, electronics supplier Magnetti Marelli are warning no cars could finish the opening Grand Prix.
As the sport prepares for the first race with the new V6 turbo power units, the company’s head Roberto Dalla claims the lack of testing allied to the complexity of the new units make that worst case scenario possible.
“Last year, there was a single unit made by McLaren that was the brain of every aspect,” he said. “But now it only has control of a portion, and the underlying challenge is to be able to operate like an orchestra the engine, the turbo, the recovery systems.
“Doing it during three winter sessions with only 12 days in total was a real mission impossible.
“In Melbourne, it could happen that all the cars do not see the finish line, because every team experienced serious problems in testing,” Dalla added.
Of course the engine supplier having most problems with it’s energy recovery systems is Renault and their biggest customer, world champions Red Bull, are not expected to challenge at Albert Park this weekend.
With the head of Renault F1, Jean-Michel Janilier, admitting that the RB10 is the most “extreme” car the engine supplier is having to work with, he does expect the team to be back battling at the front by the time the European season starts in May.
“Red Bull have always made very competitive cars and we worked well together,” he told Italy’s Omnicourse.
“Maybe theirs is a bit more extreme at the level of their project, but we are working closely together to make it competitive,” Jalinier added.
And the team’s four-time champion driver Sebastian Vettel has told German media that the Melbourne spec RB10 will be much different to that used in testing.
“The car we will use in Melbourne will only be the same as the one we tested in the winter on the outside,” he told Welt am Sonntag.
“Inside, it will be different,” added Vettel.
“It’s hard to say where we are, but we are certainly not among the favourites to win,” he admitted.
Meanwhile for his new team-mate Daniel Ricciardo, heading into his first race with the team at his home race in Australia, the man from Perth admitted making the finish will be the biggest challenge.
“We don’t really know if it will last the distance,” he told Fairfax Media, “because we haven’t proven it (in testing).”
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