OMG...so it seems 2016 is a write-off.
http://www.auto-motor-und-sport.de/form ... 44964.html
Mario Illien is trying to help Renault in the coming season to make steps forward. In this interview the Ilmor-boss reflects, how the cooperation is set up, where are the problems of the catch up and how the F1-engine should look like in 2017 / 2018
Q: How are the stage of affairs with Renault
Illien: I signed [a contract] one week before christmas. It is a long-term contract. Now we just put together a program and discuss, how we can go into the season.
Q: You've already something developed for Renault in 2015. What's going to happen with it?
Illien: We will surely use it and integrate into the PU step-by-step.
Q: Renault's final decision came only just at the beginning of December. What can you do in this very short period of time until the start of the season?
Illien: With 32 token you could make quite a lot, but unfortunately time is too short. We need to co-ordinate with Renault, what is possible in this limited available time.
Q: Renault is located in France, Ilmor in England. How can we imagine the cooperation?
Illien: We have a small team in England, doing the development there and will also use our dynos. Race track operations are in responsibility of Renault. Also the calibration on the dynos and the development of PU-mapping is in charge of Renault. However, we are constantly in contact and visit each other.
Q: But Ilmor do not develop a completely new engine for Renault?
Illien: No, the areas are not defined yet. Now it depends on, where are ideas, where the focus should put on and what is ever possible in this short period of time. Of course we already have to plan in the longer term beyond 2016.
Q: Renault's deficit is big. Do you have to start from scratch
Illien: No, it's not that bad. It will progress step-by-step. I hope that we will already have some progress at the start of the season.
Q: Ilmor was also involved in the application process for the alternative engine. What happens next?
Illien: We have to wait until there's a decision. That depends on the meetings in January.
Q: Suppose the decision on a new engine concept is coming soon. Is 2017 possible?
Illien: I think it is already too late. I consider 2018 to be realistic.
Q: Would it be worth economically for an independet engine manufacturer, such as Ilmor or Cosworth, to develop a completely new engine, if you may sell it only for 7 Mio. Euros?
Illien: If nobody pays the development costs, it is difficult.
Q: How does it work in IndyCar Series, where engine costs are significantly less?
Illien: The technology there is much simpler. We do not have a hybrid system - neither recuperation over KERS nor over the turbo. There is also no intercooler. This simplifies the situation extremely.
Q: Would it be better if there are standard hybrid modules like MGU-H, MGU-K and batteries?
Illien: It would make the whole PU cheaper. On technological aspects it's possible and that would only have an impact on packaging. The fans don't see any difference.
Q: How, in your point of view, would be the ideal engine formula to meet Ecclestone's targets: louder, more powerful, cheaper, available for everyone
Illien: The ERS makes the whole package as mentioned very expensive. Also the fact that you may only use 4 engines per season does not make it less expensive. You have to ensure reliability early in the season, later on you can change very little. Development would not increase spent money.
Q: What's the potential of the current concept. Are the manufacturers already at the end of development or is it possible to take the existing engines towards 1000 hPS?
Illien: It is still poatential there, but 1000 PS is difficult. Mainly due to limited fuel. At 10500 rpm we have max. fuel flow. On higher revs the efficiency decreases a lot.
Q: Should more fuel be allowed to get more power?
Illien: Yes, I think a little bit of efficiency should be sacrificed in order to facilitate.
Q: Where are the problems if you increase the amount of fuel in the current V6-architecture?
Illien: The current engines are not designed for the load. Pistons, rods, bearings...and soon you have ignition pressures such as in a diesel. That's a big issue.
Q: Should Renault put an early focus on development of the new engine?
Illien: I think you have to do both. You have to do reasonable racing. And of course, you also learn something if you improve the existing concept.
Q: Is it realistic, to catch up to Mercedes and Ferrari in 2016?
Illien: That probably takes a little longer than one year. The competitors also make progress.
Q: What does Mercedes better?
Illien: It is the overall efficiency. Their big advantage is, they do all in-house. Therefore more quickly and efficiently than contacting your supplier.
Q: Many damages caused by knocking at Renault. Why is this such a big problem?
Illien: Fuel preperation and mixing are critical. But also cooling, how warm the fresh air enters the engine and the efficiency of the compressor.
Q: But in F1 there are intercooler - unlike e.g. in IndyCar Series.
Illien: In IndyCar we have knocking too. But you have to deal with it. You have to take arrangements to reduce it and prevent it.