A fault with the piston design of Renault’s 2015 engine has been identified, according to the French broadcaster Canal Plus.
Problems across both Renault-powered teams, Red Bull and Toro Rosso, marred the French marque’s weekend in China last weekend.
Boss Cyril Abiteboul departed Shanghai saying he hoped a fix could be identified and put in place in time for Bahrain, despite the turnaround of mere days.
But the latest news is alarming, as Canal Plus reports that the issue is in fact a fundamental flaw with the actual piston.
Abiteboul is quoted as saying there can be “no solution within the next six weeks”.
Ferrari technical director James Allison commented: “Problems with the power unit are the last thing you want, because the production time of the parts is so long.”
As for improving the actual lagging performance of the engine, Abiteboul insisted Renault must be wise in spending its remaining ‘tokens’ this year.
“Engine technology,” he said, “is not something you can change overnight after a bad race.
“We have a plan for the use of our tokens this year, so we should not rush headlong into decisions that may not be the best for the long term.”
Interestingly, the heat appears to have gone out of Red Bull’s earlier stinging criticism of Renault, as the parties knuckle down to improving in 2015.
“As Ferrari has shown, you can turn things around when you have clear goals and direction,” team boss Christian Horner is quoted by Italy’s Tuttosport.
“If you look at the facts, it is not a great moment for us,” he acknowledged, “but Renault is a great company with capable people and a long history of success in formula one.
“At the moment something is not working, but we will help Renault to understand what the problems are — at the moment this is the highest priority.” (GMM)