Posted by Mole on June 29, 2012 | No Comments
It was quite a surprise when on Lap 34 of the European Grand Prix, viewers saw Sebastian Vettel’s gloves fly at the catch fencing as he frustratingly walked away from his retired Red Bull RB8. And, it was an even bigger surprise, when Lotus’ Romain Grosjean retired just 7 laps later in a near identical place on the track.
Incidentally, both Lotus, and Red Bull use the Renault RS27 engine. With the problem effecting both teams within a relatively short space of time, you wouldn’t have to be a Mechanical Engineer to workout that this was a manufacturing error. Renault transported the faulty engines back to base until further notice.
After a thorough examination, Renault claim the alternators overheated, which severed the electrical cables from the power supply unit, and therefore a retirement was inevitable. But, its not as easy as that, because the engine supplier remains puzzled as to why the parts became too hot to begin with. More tests are due to be carried out to diagnose the root of the issue.
One confirmed decision is that the Safety car did not have any effect on the situation, as Rob White, the deputy managing director for Renaults Sport F1 Division, said: “We had evidence that the alternator on Sebastian’s car was showing signs of overheating before the safety car period, but the slower speeds prolonged its life expectancy slightly.”
Renault also said that they have plans to make some changes to the alternators they supply for Silverstone. Also, as a precaution, the alternators they send for the British Grand Prix, will be from a new batch. White also explained that they are “looking at several solutions”.
This certainly isn’t what teams want to hear, as currently, there are a total of 4 teams which use the Renault RS27 V8 Engine. They are; Red Bull, Lotus, Caterham, and Williams. Hopefully, Renault will work with the teams to work on the issue, so it doesn’t become a regular occurrence.