F1 engine supplier Renault gives its new-speicifaction power unit an early debut after successful test in Barcelona. The company wanted to introduce it in Canada, but testing showed that the new package is already mature enough in terms of reliability to hit the track.
Renault supplies its own works team and Red Bull this year after its former customer Toro Rosso switched to Ferrari for 2016. The French company struggled last year to get on terms with its engine, but it managed to make big gains over the winter.
Its 2016 engine which was used during the first races of the season builds on the specification which saw its debut at the end of last year.
“The power unit we have used since the first race in Australia was really a continuation of the work started in the ‘Spec D’ power unit we introduced at the tail end of 2015. We explored some concepts in that earlier iteration and the 2016 unit took them further, for example in the turbo,” said Renault’s engine director Remi Taffin.
“This new spec goes even further down the line and also includes significant modifications to the combustion system.”
Renault hopes on big gains worth half a second with its latest modifications.
“It will make the ICE more powerful but also efficient, leading to a gain of around half a second per lap. We’ve used a small proportion of our token allocation for this upgrade,” Taffin estimated the gains.
Renault has been working on its new specification since the start of the season. It originally planned to introduce it in Canada as it was sure about the peak power gains, but was not totally certain of its drivability.
The engineers were delighted in the post-race Barcelona testing after both Renault and Red Bull tried out the new version. They started to fast-track the manufacturing process of the last components and the assembly in a bid to celebrate the debut of new specification in the forthcoming race which takes place in Monaco.
However, there will only be two new power units available. The manufacturer decided to give one to its works team and one to Red Bull. It is now up to the race teams to decide which of their drivers gets the new one.
Asked whether Renault continues the development this year, Taffin replied that his engineers already think of 2017 when the token system which limited the engine development will be scrapped altogether.
“We will continue our development over the rest of the season, using tokens with a view to getting on board any useful items identified from our 2017 work.”
“We are principally focused on 2017 and making that next power unit as optimal as possible,” concluded Taffin.