Chasing Engine Performance Cost Us: Renault F1

January 1, 2018 10:04 pm

If you think Honda’s reliability was torrid this year than you need to take another look. While Honda had only McLaren to supply and hence any retirement was clearly visible. Renault F1, on the other hand, was supplying three teams. So engine failures were evenly spread but if you sum up the total retirements the three teams suffered then suddenly the Honda debacle does not appear so mammoth.

Red Bull lost some pretty good results between its two drivers. The works Renault F1 team arguably lost P5 in the standings. Toro Rosso, on the other hand, slumped to P7 in the standings.

Cyril Abiteboul has now apologized to the customer teams. Speaking on the issue he said that Renault F1 opted an extra aggressive approach to catch up to Mercedes and Ferrari. He said that the combination of a new engine architecture, lack of dyno mileage and issues that they ran into during winter testing meant they couldn’t implement improvement.

Adding further, Abiteboul revealed that later in the season Renault F1 tried its hand at unlocking performance modes in the engine. The Renault engine has been close to the Merc and Ferrari engine on Sundays but a lack of qualifying mode has hurt it. Red Bull has been quite vocal in its demand for a qualifying mode from Renault F1.

Abiteboul said that Renault F1 tried to do that and found some performance but ultimately paid the price with reliability.

Also late in the season, Renault F1 got into a public spat with Toro Rosso. The Red Bull junior team ran into a lot of engine related issues as the season drew towards an end. The French marquee questioned the way Toro Rosso was running its engines and this got both the teams involved.

Naturally, Abiteboul was asked about this spat as well. Speaking in depth he said that running the engines in higher performance modes had an adverse impact on the life of the engine parts. To tackle this issue the team reduced the operating temperature of the engine. Renault F1 said that Toro Rosso failed to adhere to this temperature requirement and ran into troubles.

He concluded by saying that the woes had hurt the Renault F1 brand and that the team’s first focus is improving this issue for 2018.

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