The Renault Sport F1 team’s Technical Director, Rémi Taffin, has estimated the updated Renault power unit used by both the works Renault Sport team and Red Bull Racing, under Tag Heuer branding, will deliver up to half a second in performance per lap once introduced.
Speaking on the engine development plans so far in 2016 Rémi commented:
“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. This new spec goes even further down the line and also includes significant modifications to the combustion system. 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.”
When quizzed on timing around the introduction of the upgraded power unit Rémi went on to explain:
“The current power unit used since Australia has had several smaller upgrades and all the drivers were very happy with the standard in Spain. In parallel, we’ve been working on the new spec since the start of the season but needed to sign off all the parts for reliability and mileage before using on track. The tests were very positive and showed it to be more powerful and driveable. We had originally planned to use the new version in Canada when the current units are scheduled to be removed from the cycle, but if we can get the units together and completely validated by Monaco we will use the ones available at this race.”
Rémi went on to confirm that whilst Renault will continue to develop the 2016 power unit and are set to have a large amount of performance tokens available to do so, the team are fully focused on optimising the 2017 power unit:
“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.”
This may not be the news Red Bull Racing were hoping to hear, having elevated the RB12 into a race winning contender they may be looking for support from their engine supplier to mount a championship challenge.