Renault 'a little nervous' over US reliability

By on Wednesday, October 29, 2014
Red Bull/Getty Images

Red Bull/Getty Images

Renault says that the high-speed characteristics of the Circuit of the Americas - the venue for this weekend's United States Grand Prix - raises reliability concerns due to the strain it puts on the Power Units.

Several drivers powered by Renault are on the cusp of using a sixth Power Unit component this weekend, which would result in them receiving a 10 place grid penalty. Reigning world champion and 2013 race winner Sebastian Vettel is set to use a sixth engine, meaning that he could start from the pit lane.

"Now we enter the final three races, reliability starts to become an overriding concern so having such a challenging circuit at this point in the year makes everyone a little nervous," said head of track operations Remi Taffin.

"Mileage on each part is high and putting each through its paces means we’ll have a very busy weekend to check everything over and safeguard against any issues. I

"In most cases we have enough flexibility to play around, plus we also have the confidence of knowing our performance and how to fully exploit it."

Taffin explained the tests which Power Units will go through around the 5.5km circuit.

"The start of the lap is one of the hardest sectors for the ICE [Internal Combustion Engine] and turbo," he commented. "The pit straight will see the ICE work at close to its maximum rev limit, while the altitude change to the first corner strains the turbo as it rotates at a higher speed to generate the same amount of power at the top of the hill.

"After the first corner, the driver then negotiates the sweeping series of Esses through to turn eight. Like Suzuka and Silverstone’s Esses and Becketts complexes, the ICE will be working at close to its maximum capacity through this section. After all this, the long back straight then sees the cars flat out for over 1km, with speeds in excess of 320kph.

"The third sector is a lot more stop-start, but the hairpins and tight corners will give the MGU-K a chance to recharge. At each corner, the driver will stamp on the brakes, putting large forces through the K and filling the battery once more."

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