Unlocking the speed

Our chief designer Rob Marshall explains why the RB10 will get quicker with every race.

Rob, many people were surprised when the RB10 rolled out of the pits in Australia and looked competitive – were you expecting that too or was it a pleasant surprise?
It was pleasant, but not too much of a surprise. We struggled a lot in pre-season with reliability issues. You suffer because the parts you need to fix a problem take time to make. You design the fix, wait a while to get the part and then try it again.

We'd got used to engines that were reliable, quick to drop in, and understood by the crews. Were we spoilt with the V8s?
I think so. The rules and the engine regulations were stable for such a long time. Now everything is new: there are many more bits and so many ways of putting things together incorrectly that the job takes a very long time – but we've already improved significantly.

Working with F1's new engines

Some say that the design of the RB10 didn't take potential problems with the new power units into account. Should you have been more cautious or do you have to design a car that's on the edge if you want to win?
It doesn't come down to being aggressive or cautious: you aim to build the appropriate device to help you win the World Championship. We've not taken risks or made the job hard for ourselves just for the sake of it. Everything is measured, risks are calculated. It can make the job harder – but then again it isn't supposed to be easy.

We're just scratching the surface with what the RB10 is capable of. Was there a hope that Renault's new power unit would work perfectly straight out of the box?
No, we never thought that! We always knew it was going to be difficult. It's a big job and Renault knew it would be too. They had a lot of fixes on the way and, like us, there were things they only discovered in testing. Some of these were long lead-time parts and you've got to wait for them to arrive.

Looking beyond the engine and powertrain, are you pleased with the RB10's chassis and aerodynamic package?
Yes, we are. It appears to be behaving to expectations – but we're just scratching the surface with what it's capable of.

How does the team go forward from here?
We still need to get the car optimised in its current form. Then there's continued aero development and a lot of work in unlocking what the engine's capable of. We'll be attacking all of that, but in the short term the obvious thing to is to get the engine really performing.

'We always knew it was going to be difficult. It's a big job'

The first in-season test of the year is currently happening in Bahrain. Is that circled as a big target for you?
We won't only bring things to the test, we'll be throwing things at the car as we go along.

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