Date: 20th November 2012 at 12:18pm
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This type of news wouldn’t usually make the headlines in Formula One.

It’s hardly one of the most interesting parts of Formula One, but as Mark Webber will testify it can be a crucial part!

The Australian had his third alternator failure in a race this year during the United States Grand Prix, forcing him to retire from what was likely to be a podium finish and would have crucially extended team-mate Sebastian Vettel’s lead over Fernando Alonso in the Formula One Drivers World Championship.

With the title to be decided in Brazil this weekend, everything comes under the spotlight and for Red Bull it’s reliability.

Vettel might have been luckier than his team-mate during 2012, but it has also happened to Vettel during the season and they know that if another technical hitch strikes at this late stage of the season, that could be what decides this years championship.

So the spotlight is firmly focussed on Red Bull’s alternator, which is designed by Renault.

‘The component is not a new component. It has been on the Renault engine since about 2005 and it has been failing since 2005 as well.’

Red Bull’s chief technical officer Adrian Newey said to the BBC.

Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner told Sky Sports: ‘It’s just a worry full-stop. I mean, unfortunately it’s the third alternator that we’ve had and obviously there’s been other failures in other cars.

‘So we need to get it back. I think the new version is on other engine cycles. Hopefully that’s what we’ll have for Brazil.’


Red Bull have actually used the new spec alternator previously, but following retirements for Vettel in Valencia and Italy, they reverted to the older specification alternator.

Following those retirements Renault have made modifications to the alternator and while Red Bull decided to continue with the older version Lotus and Caterham had no issues in the United States.

‘It is very simple. We go for the new spec. It has passed all the tests.’

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Renault’s head of trackside operations Remi Taffin told Autosport Magazine.

‘This is the first Sunday it has been used, but now we are up to 2000km on a few items with track and dyno testing, so there is nothing we would do more on this item before we fit it on the car.’

So Red Bull head into the final race of the 2012 Formula One World Championship, using a Renault alternator on their car for the first time this season.

Will it prove to be their downfall? Fernando Alonso certainly hopes so.

 

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