Renault has confirmed that, following successful outings in practice, it is set to introduce new alternators to its engines from the US Grand Prix later this month.
The part has been the root cause of Sebastian Vettel's two DNFs this season, and the regie
is determined that the recent run of victories that has propelled the German back to the head of the championship standings is not undermined by a third failure in the final two rounds. Heat has been pinpointed as a factor in the two problems so far, with Vettel's succumbing in Valencia and at Monza and, with Austin and Brazil not among the coolest of venues, nothing is being left to chance.
Ironically, however, this weekend's Abu Dhabi race weekend is likely to be hotter than either of those that follow, but engineer Remi Taffin insists that, while the parts have been tried in recent sessions, they will not be available to use on Sunday at Yas Marina.
"The new specification we've been running now since Singapore," he revealed to journalists in Abu Dhabi, "It was obviously run on Fridays but, before we did that, we did the normal job we do with any parts that we fit on the engine on the dyno, for example. It has obviously passed all the tests, so we are now quite confident that we can race it and that's why we have a target to introduce that at race 19, in Austin.
"The question now is whether we're going to fit that on all of the cars, or all of the teams we supply, and it's just a question of supplying the parts. It's not that easy to get all the parts changed but, obviously, the major changes we've done is all about what failed and we've discussed bearings so that's the work we've achieved so far, so that's where we are.
Vettel's cause may be helped this weekend by the fact that the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix follows to a twilight timetable, so that the race runs into darkness.
"If we look at what we're going to get at the end of the race, it could be five to ten degrees down [on the start]," Taffin confirmed, "Engine-wise, it's more like what we're going to try to assess for the cooling, for example, so we just basically have to get the data from P2 because it's more or less the same timing, and assess the set-up of the car. Racing is pretty close to what we've been doing in P2, so that's when we will get the data and find out what we need. Obviously, there will be a power change, but let's say it's the same for everyone."
Taffin also confirmed that the various Renault-engined teams were all running to schedule in terms of using the eight allocated units for the season.
"Let's say, since last race, we're on plan," he revealed, "We've obviously had up and downs during the year, but we're all fine. We also have some engines left for six of our eight drivers, one left, which we should use for this weekend. So it will be up to eight this weekend for all our customers and we should be okay for the rest of the year. Obviously, we have to manage the mileage on Fridays but, yeah, we're on target."