F1 » 22 September 2012
Renault still wary of alternator problem
Renault is still working on a solution for its alternator problems, but hopes that it has now found the cause.
Having admitted that it needs more time to fully explore the alternator problem that sidelined Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel in both the European and Italian grands prix, Renault heads into this weekend hoping that the heat and humidity of Singapore won't cause a repeat.
Vettel saw a potential second win of the season go begging on the streets of Valencia in June, and was then deprived of a possible podium finish at Monza which would have kept him second overall in the championship heading into the 'flyaways' that kick off in Singapore. Renault, however, concedes that it still does not have a clear picture of the cause, leaving Vettel and others using the same part to take their chances.
"First of all, we started to have a problem in Valencia with two drivers, Sebastian and Romain [Grosjean], but it was not easy to detect or find because both alternators were completely melted and destroyed," the regie's Jean-Francois Caubet told journalists, "So we were thinking it was an electric problem and probably the levels of power in the car, so we decided to change a bit the levels of power in each car.
"Spa was okay but, again, in Monza we have a problem with Sebastian two times and another driver also. We had a bit of fortune because we stopped the Lotus car just maybe some problem with the alternator and, at the end, it was not an electrical problem, it was a mechanical problem, a bearing probably. So, we are trying to change something.
"It is not easy because we detect that a few days [ago], but I think we are quite optimistic. The problem we have is that we are running the new solution in the dyno but only the race will give us an answer."
Asked whether the conditions in Singapore could be detrimental to reliability, Caubet shrugged.
"I don't know," he conceded, "P1 was okay, P2 was okay, so we cross our fingers for P3, qualifying and the race."
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