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GP Week : Issue 168
F1 >>> NEWS One failing component is bad luck. But to have the same component fail numerous times, across a fleet of vehicles? That implies a serious problem, either in manufacture or integration. And after numerous alternator failures – and near misses – for Renault Sport F1 customers over the course of the season, the powers that be at Viry-Chatillon believe they’re close to establishing the source of their problems. “We had a bit of fortune by having an alternator that nearly failed on the Lotus car on Saturday [at Monza], so we could strip that down and obviously everything was not melted because this alternator was okay to run,” Taffin said in Singapore. “We could look at the internals and we could see that some of the internals were not right. So we had a clue of what is failing. It does not mean we know why it is failing, but at least we know what part is the first to fail and this has now given us a new direction to look at.” Renault’s alternator issues have not just affected their F1 customers. Between Monza and Singapore, the Pirelli test car (Renault’s 2010 R30) also suffered an alternator failure this time during a tyre test at the Circuit de Catalunya. “Earlier today, an R30 from 2010 being used for Pirelli tyre testing at Barcelona experienced an alternator failure similar to the occurrence in Valencia earlier this season,” Pirelli confirmed to Autosport. “The engine was a 2010 version fitted with a 2010 specification alternator similar to the specification used in the first part of the 2012 season.” While Renault’s customers were able to complete the Singapore Grand Prix without alternator-related disasters, the problems have yet to be fixed. Instead, Viry supplied them with older-spec alternators that were thought to be more reliable, pre-dating Monza but post the original Valencia failures. Alternator suppliers Magneti Marelli will have heaved a collective sigh of relief when the chequered flag fell in Marina Bay. Both Helmut Marko and Sebastian Vettel had publicly mooted a change of supplier in the event that the alternator failures continued, scuppering Red Bull’s chances of a third consecutive world title for team and driver. ALTERNATOR? ALTERED. THEY HOPE. 5 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: