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Renault 'nervous' about Austin challenge

29 Oct 2014

Renault admit they are wary about the stresses that Austin will place on their Formula One power units, particularly as reliability has become a chief priority over the final three Grands Prix.

Given the high mileage already accrued over the first 16 races of the 2014 season, and the blend of high-speed sections and tighter, more technical corners, Renault say they face a busy weekend in the US trying to prevent any complications or failures.

"Now we enter the final three races, reliability starts to become an overriding concern - so having such a challenging circuit at this point in the year makes everyone a little nervous," said Remi Taffin, head of track operations at Renault Sport F1, ahead of this weekend's 2014 Formula 1 United States Grand Prix.

"The Circuit of The Americas has already established itself as a classic track. It is [also] very challenging and will give every component of the Power Unit a good workout.

"The start of the lap is one of the hardest sectors for the ICE and turbo - the pit straight will see the ICE work at close to its maximum rev limit, while the altitude change to the first corner strains the turbo as it rotates at a higher speed to generate the same amount of power at the top of the hill.

"The After the first corner, the driver then negotiates the sweeping series of Esses through to turn eight. Like Suzuka and Silverstone's Esses and Becketts complexes, the ICE will be working at close to its maximum capacity through this section. After all this, the long back straight then sees the cars flat out for over 1km, with speeds in excess of 320kph.

"Mileage on each part is high and putting each through its paces means we'll have a very busy weekend to check everything over and safeguard against any issues."

Taffin, who will oversee power unit supply to Red Bull, Lotus and Toro Rosso this weekend, insisted that Renault have the capacity to handle such demands however, adding: "In most cases we have enough flexibility to play around, plus we also have the confidence of knowing our performance and how to fully exploit it."

Taffin said before the 2014 Formula 1 Japanese Grand Prix that Renault were committed to introducing a sixth power unit when required this year, given the fact many Renault-powered drivers were already on the cusp of the five-engine limit.