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F1: Renault Blamed In Red Bull Crisis, Newey Back To Drawing Board Photo:
 
 
TMR Team | Feb, 03 2014 | 0 Comments

Team owner Dietrich Mateschitz is keeping his calm, despite a nightmarish opening test of 2014 for the reigning world champions Red Bull.

While key Mercedes and Ferrari-powered rivals got up to speed at Jerez with their radical new V6, turbo and energy-recovery-powered cars, Red Bull struggled to run the RB10 with Renault issues and chassis cooling problems, ultimately collecting a meagre tally of barely 20 laps for the entire four-day test.

Energy drink magnate and Austrian billionaire Mateschitz, however, sounded calm as he spoke to the Salzburger Nachrichten newspaper.

"These were the more-or-less expected teething problems with a new engine, which was being tested for the first time on a track," he said.

Red Bull and Renault now have two weeks to solve the issues for the next test, in Bahrain, but Mateschitz said it is already clear the RB10 is a good car.

"Yes, it is very positive," he said, "because it is more than just 'state of the art' again, as can be seen in the details.

"The moment of truth will come at the first race in Melbourne," Mateschitz insisted.

He denied that recent high-profile staff departures, like aerodynamics chief Peter Prodromou's switch to McLaren, have contributed to the problem.

"Our current problems are not with the team," he said, "but in the engine area. The team has more than excellent know-how."

Mateschitz admitted, however, that Mercedes and Ferrari will be powerful rivals in 2014, after four consecutive seasons of Renault-powered Red Bull dominance.

"Ferrari has made enormous efforts during the winter," he said, "and Mercedes seems to have done a very good job with the motor.

"But Renault is coming again, the only question is when."

Mateschitz seemed to acknowledge, therefore, that Red Bull's current deficit could still be an issue when the F1 circus travels to Melbourne in March.

"A deficit at the beginning of the season does not automatically mean that the world title is lost," he said. "Even if you come from behind, you still have a chance."

(GMM)

 

Grey clouds at Jerez as Red Bull ends first test

The grey drizzle matched the mood in the Red Bull garage on Friday morning, but Daniel Ricciardo was his ever upbeat self.

Asked if the troubled RB10 will be running on the last day of the opening test of 2014, he answered: "I hope so."

Actually, he did less than 10 laps before the reigning world champions, caught deep in an early-season crisis along with engine supplier Renault, called it a day.

"All focus now shifts to Bahrain," said the team.

"We have two weeks until the next test so time's on our side."

That is an optimistic view, after a nightmarish four-day tally of just 21 laps. Mercedes' Nico Rosberg did almost 100 before lunch on Friday alone, as the Brackley team got stuck into a race simulation.

Mercedes' four-day tally is 270 laps and counting, with Lewis Hamilton set to complete the running in the reliable W05.

Red Bull, in total and utter contrast, are struggling to get Adrian Newey's extreme packaging working at all with the higher cooling demands of the all-new turbo and ERS-powered Renault V6.

Quite simply, the car cannot keep the crucial 'power unit' cool enough. Burn marks were visible on the side of the Red Bull on Friday, followed by some hasty work by the mechanics to cut holes in the bodywork.

Compounding Red Bull's misery, other key rivals Ferrari and McLaren are also looking reliable, both teams racking up about 70 laps apiece by lunchtime.

(GMM)

 

Newey 'back to the drawing board' amid Red Bull crisis

Amid world champion Red Bull's testing nightmare at Jerez, bigwigs Christian Horner, Adrian Newey, Helmut Marko and the visiting team owner Dietrich Mateschitz all departed southern Spain on Thursday.

While rival Mercedes and Ferrari-powered teams have managed to collect dozens upon dozens of early pre-season laps, the tally amassed by Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo in the troubled RB10 numbers unlucky 13.

"Adrian has gone back to the drawing board, definitely," team newcomer Daniel Ricciardo, on duty on Thursday, said.

Red Bull had initially pointed the finger at engine supplier Renault, and the French marque duly admitted it has had problems with all of its customer teams, including Toro Rosso and Caterham.

But Marko confessed before departing on Thursday that the latest problems are also Red Bull's making. Paddock rumours suggest Newey has pushed his famously tight packaging too close to the limit in a new era where cooling is a major hurdle.

"I guess now there's only so much he (Newey) can do at the track and I think he's pretty happy working at his office in Milton Keynes," added Ricciardo.

Red Bull is expected to try to get the RB10 running on Friday, the final day of the Jerez test, but the real attention will be ensuring the car is in working order for the crucial final two tests, in Bahrain.

"I think the break before Bahrain is going to help the team a lot," said Ricciardo. "Even if tomorrow doesn't go to plan, we still won't be worried.

"Time is still on our side. Even if we go to Melbourne with whatever (issues), it's a long season. These guys know how to win and I'm sure we'll sort it out," he added.

Undoubtedly, Ricciardo is putting his characteristically-smiling tilt on serious trouble for Red Bull.

There are rumours that, before Newey left, he had a "heated" exchange with Renault's Rob White -- each accusing the other of being most to blame for the situation.

And Red Bull's culpability seemed clearer on Thursday, when sister team Toro Rosso's Jean-Eric Vergne said a Renault fix had given the new STR9 a "massive step forward" overnight.

Bernie Ecclestone, nonetheless angry at the Jerez testing 'farce', sees some upside to the situation.

"The good thing is that the season could be extremely interesting -- really unpredictable, and that is the exciting thing," he told the Daily Mail.

Williams' Felipe Massa agrees that the 2014 revolution has given F1 a total shakeup.

"As I drove around, you could see these major differences between the cars," the Brazilian is quoted by Finland's MTV3.

"I'm not talking about performance, I mean how the cars are braking and how they're coming out of the corners. It seems as though there are three categories of cars on one track -- Mercedes, Ferrari and Renault. Even the sound is different," he explained.

(GMM)

 
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