JULY 26, 2014
Even Renault looking forward to summer shutdown
Even F1's engine suppliers will take a 'summer break' in August.
Eleven races into the season, and after the hectic back-to-back dash from Germany to Hungary, there are a lot of tired faces in the paddock this weekend.
They are looking ahead to the rare and deliberate three-weekend gap between Hungary and the resumption of hostilities in Belgium.
Not only that, teams must close their factories for a mandatory period of cost-cutting and rest, with even the activity of email servers strictly forbidden.
But the factory shutdown applies only to the actual teams, not the engine suppliers.
It means Renault, but also the engine operations at Ferrari and Mercedes, can keep working.
"If the units responsible for the engines want to continue to work, they can," Renault's Remi Taffin said at the Hungaroring.
"But, to be honest with you, even in Viry there will not be much activity. We want to give the people a break.
"We will not work at 100 per cent during this period, because at some point everyone needs a break," he added.
But even a break will not end all of Renault's headaches, after a pre-season crisis and an ongoing struggle to continue to improve the turbo V6 'power unit'.
One looming problem is that reliability issues, and necessary upgrades for the troublesome unit, means that many Renault-powered drivers will unavoidably exceed their allocation of five engines during the second half of the season.
"We do not hide the fact that sixth components will have to be used by some of our customers," said Taffin, acknowledging that it will result in penalties for the drivers.
"Of course it's not what we planned, but after three or four races we realised that it was going to be very difficult.
"Caterham is in pretty good shape in that regard -- they will be able to meet the limit. But for the rest it's more complicated," he admitted.