New Renault fails FIA crash tests

The launch of Renault's new R29 will go ahead as planned later this month despite the team failing mandatory crash tests with their new car, has learned

The French car manufacturer are due to unveil their 2009 challenger at the Portimao track in Portugal on January 19, ahead of extensive testing with the new car.

However, sources have revealed to that preparations with the machine have not gone perfectly with the team failing two of the three crash tests that are mandatory by the FIA.

It is understood the car failed the nose test and the side impact test - and there are suggestions that one of the team's new chassis was actually written off in one of the failed tests.

A team spokeswoman confirmed that the tests had been failed, but insisted that engineers know what went wrong and the issues have been solved - meaning the car should get the green light when it is re-tested.

"It is something not at all unusual," said the spokeswoman. "However, we have identified the problem and solved it. The car will be testing in Algarve on January 19."

The failing of crash tests for teams is not too rare as they push the limits of how much weight to save in their chassis construction.

It is believed that Renault have been forced to press the margins of their car to the edge this year as a result of the extra weight that comes from their new Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS).

Renault have shown in the past, however, that crash test problems do not necessarily impact on their ultimate performance during the season. In 2005 they failed a side impact test at their first attempt but still went on to win the world championship.

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