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Renault still not sure alternator issues have been solved

By Berthold Bouman

The alternator problems which especially have hurt the Red Bull Racing team, have not been completely solved, according to Renault Sport Director Jean-Francois Caubet during yesterday’s FIA press conference in Singapore.

Renault Sport Director Jean-Francois Caubet

The Frenchman also denied the problems are related to the design of the Red Bull RB8, as he said Lotus driver Romain Grosjean also had similar problems. So what is the story so far? “First of all we started to have a problem in Valencia with two drivers Sebastian Vettel and Romain [Grosjean]. It was not easy to detect or find because both alternators were completely melted and destroyed,” Caubet explained.

“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 OK but again in Monza we have a problem with Sebastian two times and another driver also,” added Caubet.

But Renault was lucky this time, because they were able to salvage the alternator from Grosjean’s car before it had been completely destroyed.  “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 heat in Singapore would make the problem worse he replied, “I don’t know. P1 was OK, P2 was OK. We cross our fingers for P3, qualifying and the race.”

Meanwhile, the manufacturer of the alternator, the Italian Magneti Marelli company has hit back at the critics, one of them is Red Bull owner Austrian Dieter Mateschitz, and he suggested Renault should find a new alternator supplier.

Magneti Marelli’s Motorsport boss Roberto Dalla said he was surprised by Mateschitz’ comments and said, “I will not comment, because I don’t understand it. All the analysis that we have done has shown that the part has no problem. It has failed probably because of the exceptional mechanical stress it is exposed to.”


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