I was skimming news this morning and was intrigued by a comment James Key made regarding the Renault power unit and Toro Rosso (STR). James is the technical director for STR and says that the engine has made significant gains since the season-opener in Australia telling AUTOSPORT:
“I have to say Renault has made a massive step compared to Melbourne,” Key said. “There were issues at Melbourne that affected us.
“There was some driveability issues and so on but it has done a really good effort to give us something in Malaysia that the drivers are really happy with.
“It’s still not perfect, but it’s a lot better than the first race.
“We need that performance because Ferrari has made that step forward and Mercedes are strong.
“But I think after a tricky weekend in Melbourne, Renault has recovered very effectively.”
The equalling intriguing issue is that both STR’s finished ahead of the their big brother team, Red Bull Racing (RBR), and that hasn’t happened since 2009. IF the gains were made, clearly they were manifest in STR’s performance but not to be found in the RBR car.
Is RBR doing something completely different with their engine? Why wasn’t their pace amplified in Malaysia? Was it the hot weather, which benefitted Ferrari and perhaps didn’t hobble STR, that prevented RBR from showing its legs?
Again, there is that word which has become so prevalent in 2015…”driveability”. It seems that RBR were the first to start abusing the word over their lack of performance and one has to wonder what the weight spilt in that word actually is. What I mean is, is 80% of RBR’s use of that word pointed toward the engine characteristics and 20% the chassis?
Because no team has ever taken the time to explain what they mean when they say driveability, we’re left inferring as to what the weight distribution of that word means. It’s like when the 2014 engines came on line in Australia, the sound of a car was quietly and incessantly changed to the word, “noise” of the car. Delicate change but the weight is certainly felt and understood.
I suspect the use of the word driveability is not just a simple parlance chosen but a tactical word chosen for a reason that adequately describes the performance of a car but also dogwhistles another message.
Perhaps, my conspiracy theories aside, driveability is simply a way the teams are now focusing on the overall or holistic approach to the car. Computer modeling may suggest that certain elements will make the car faster but unless the driver is comfortable with power application, chassis balance and tire performance given those elements, then the overall driveability is not optimum.
It’s not a new word but I did start seeing it really used in anger in the middle and waning months of the 2014 season. This approach may very well be the way teams need to approach these cars and power units and if that is it, then RBR’s frustration with driveability is understood but I still am not sure which part they are suggesting may be the bigger cause of those driveability shortcomings. Engine or chassis?
Hey, I never said I was an F1 technical genius, in fact, I can be quite dense at times. I’m just trying to really get a handle, from the teams perspective, as to what they consider all the elements in driveability when they use it so frequently these days. Look, if the teams started saying they were having trouble with the blewit’s today and that word started coming from different teams seemingly out of nowhere, wouldn’t you have a few questions? I mean, who it’s that crap anyway?
Hat Tip: AUTOSPORT