Category Archives: Renault

Formula One: A new home for the French Grand Prix?

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Situated 120KM North East of Paris CDG Airport is the currently disused Laon-Couvron Air Base.  Rumours has it that the site has recently been purchased by MSV, Motorsports Vision, owners of the Brands Hatch circuit amongst others in the UK. It is understood that group, led by former Formula One Driver Jonathan Palmer, have ambitions to redevelop the site, creating a new circuit in France and ultimately the new home of the French F1 Grand Prix.  Reports suggest redevelopment work will commence in 2016.

The site is situated between two major highways through France, a little over 1.5 hour’s drive from Paris and 40 minutes from Reims. Local infrastructure is relatively limited at this time but no more so than other existing European venues. Former airfield’s serve as logical venues for racing circuits, Silverstone immediately springs to mind. As you can see from these images of the Laon-Couvron Air Base sourced through Google Maps the fundamentals for a racing circuit are already present.

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News of Jonathan Palmer investing in bringing Formula One back to France comes at a time when his son Jolyon Palmer has been confirmed; assuming the sale of the Lotus F1 team is completed, as a future Renault F1 Team driver. It has been stated that the financial backing Jolyon Palmer will be bringing to his seat in Formula One is minimal in comparison to other drivers in the sport. Working on a more expansive project within which an experienced circuit owner in the form of Jonathan Palmer leads or takes ownership of  Renault’s ambition to bring a French Grand Prix back to the F1 calendar, would be sensible approach, and would serve to further underline Renault’s long-term commitment to Motorsport.

Without formal confirmation from; MSV, Jonathan Palmer, or Renault, talk around the venue remains speculation at this time. This story will be updated further information becomes available.

Formula One: Renault Sport confirm ICE upgrades available to both Red Bull Racing & Toro Rosso for Austin

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Rémi Taffin, Director of Operations

There’s very little not to love about Austin. The setting is impressive, the welcome is warm and the track is one of the best we visit all year. There are some very impressive corners and flowing complexes that challenge drivers, engineers and the technology we use. The power unit works in the mid to high range throughout the lap, with high average speeds and some very technical sections.

We will have our new specification of power unit available to use in Austin. The principal changes involve the internals of the ICE to give improved power and efficiency. We know that introducing the new PU will incur a grid penalty so the decision to use will be made in full consultation with the teams. At this point of the season obviously points are crucial so if circumstances allow then we will use on track.

Whatever spec we do use, we are looking forward to Austin. Our reliability has been good in the last three races and performance more in line with our expectations; both our teams just need a clean weekend to show the improved potential of both packages.

Austin Power Unit details

ICE

– Austin is one of the most demanding tracks of the second part of the year for the ICE, with just under 50% of the lap taken at wide open throttle, rising to 55% in qualifying. The average speed will be around 200kph with top speed peaking at over 320kph.

– The longest straight is the burst between Turns 11 and 12 at 1,016m. The power units will spend approx. 14secs at wide open throttle. Top speed is 325kph at the end of this straight in qualifying trim.

– The changes in gradient stress the internals of the ICE. When going downhill the mechanical parts and lubricants are squashed to the bottom of the car but when going uphill they are pushed back upwards. These repeated changes of pressure are unusual on the calendar and will be monitored over the weekend to avoid any potential problems or pressure drops.

Turbocharger 

– Austin’s gradient changes are an important consideration. The run from pole to the first corner is the most acute example of the change in altitude. The track rises 25m over 500m – equivalent to a gradient of 1 in 20 but at its steepest is 1 in 8. This elevation change means the turbo rotates at a higher speed to generate the same amount of power at the top of the hill.

– The low ambient humidity of the Texan grasslands has a big effect on the power units. The air will contain more oxygen and a naturally-aspirated ICE will generate more power, but the aridity is very taxing on the internals. A turbocharged engine mitigates this effect by varying the rotational speed to provide the correct amount of air to the ICE.

MGU-K

– The circuit layout with its flowing corners in the first sector, straight line in the second sector and stop/start character of the last sector makes the consumption per kilometre one of the highest of the season. This makes energy recovery through braking crucial.

– The third sector is very stop-start, but the hairpins and tight corners give the MGU-K a chance to recharge. At each corner, the driver will stamp on the brakes, putting large forces through the K and filling the battery once more.

– Three hairpins triangulate the track; Turns 1, 11 and 12. Revs drop to 7,500rpm and the car speed to just 80kph. All three come after a long period of open throttle, meaning engine braking and rear stability on the apex are crucial. The exits and correct engine response from the hairpins are however equally important since they each lead back onto another straight.

MGU-H

– A high percentage of Sector two is given to the long straight, which will give the MGU-H a chance to recover energy from the ICE.

– The flowing section between Turns 2 and 4 require the driver to maintain a constant level of throttle. This will require the ICE to turn at a constant speed, producing a steady stream of exhaust gas, which the MGU-H can recover.

OPINION: Renault bringing their highly anticipated engine upgrades to Austin is a significant statement of intent, if nothing more than to cement Renault remain committed to the sport and the current regulations.  Renault have not officially confirmed the number of tokens used for this upgrade, or if it represents the final development of the season. No doubt they will be keen to validate the developments on track and will encourage one or both customer teams to run the updated Power unit. 

Formula E: Season 2 Preview – Renault eDams

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HAVING WON THE TEAMS’ TITLE IN THE INAUGURAL FIA FORMULA E CHAMPIONSHIP, RENAULT E.DAMS RETURNS FOR ITS SECOND CAMPAIGN IN 2015/16 WITH ONE GOAL: TO SECURE BOTH THE TEAMS’ AND DRIVERS’ TITLES, CELEBRATING THEIR RENEWED PARTNERSHIP WITH RENAULT WHO, THIS YEAR, HAVE SUPPLIED THE ALL-NEW ELECTRIC POWERTRAIN THAT HAS BEEN DESIGNED EXCLUSIVELY FOR THE TEAM BY RENAULT SPORT F1.

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“I think we’re looking good this year. Everyone will have to bring the level of performance, organisation, discipline just a little bit higher this season. Obviously last season was the first season and year of learning for all of the teams using the same cars. So this year is going to be tough, especially with all the new technology. We don’t know where we will be strong or not as strong so consistency is really key. However, with such a strong backing from Renault and their wealth of experience will be a real help. Hopefully we can really fight for both titles this season.”

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JEAN-PAUL DRIOT

“We definitely need to up our game this year as I think all the other teams have stepped up and are looking very competitive. I’m quite confident following testing in Donington. Our package that has been developed by Renault seems to be really strong thanks to its profound knowledge and experience in electric systems – and the performance has already been proven during pre-season testing. But we really need to concentrate because, although last year we secured the Teams’ title, this year is really about pushing what we know to the limits.”

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Nicholas Prost:

“I’m delighted to be remaining with Renault e.dams for this year’s FIA Formula E Championship. It’s important to stay in the same team for the sake of continuity. Everyone knows each other well and it’s much easier to work with the same guys and in the same environment. It’ll be exciting to see what we can achieve this year, especially with the new powertrain from Renault and a promising first run at Donington.”

Sebastien Buemi:

“I’m so pleased that I’ll be working with the guys at Renault e.dams again because we all get on so well. The team is a little bigger than last year with Renault being on board but having a big manufacturer like that only strengthens the team. After our promising performance testing things are looking good, but it’s too early to say what will happen during the season. Let’s see!.”

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Formula E: Technical Regulations Season 2 Preview – With Renault eDams

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The essential technical updates:

POWERTRAIN

Season two will again feature 10 teams that are essentially the same as in the first season. However, 2015/2016 sees the introduction of eight manufacturers, selected by the FIA, who are allowed to develop new powertrains, specifically the e-motor, inverter, gearbox and cooling system. Among them is Renault, with the French constructor providing exclusively Renault e.dams with is own Z.E.15 powertrain, which has been developed by Renault Sport at Viry and is the result of many years of expertise in electric systems.

BATTERY

Williams Advanced Engineering is the sole supplier of batteries for the FIA Formula E Championship. The maximum power output of the batteries will increase to 170kW during each race in season two of the Championship, which is 30% more power than they were initially designed for.

CHASSIS

Italian firm Dallara, who boast more than 40 years’ motorsport experience, have constructed the Spark Renault SRT_01E monocoque chassis. Made from carbon fibre and honeycomb aluminium, the chassis is both super lightweight and incredibly strong and fully complies with the latest FIA crash tests.

DIMENSIONS

Overall length: 5000mm (max) Overall width: 1800mm (max) Overall height: 1250mm (max) Track width: 1300mm (min) Ride Height: 75mm (max) Minimum weight (inc. driver): 888kg (each battery 360kg)

WHEELS & TYRES

Bespoke 18-inch treaded Michelin tyres for use on both wet and dry surfaces. The idea of this is to bring the racing tyre closer to road tyres and, similar to the tyres on a road car, that don’t get changed when it goes from dry to wet. With an 18-inch tyre you are able to have a larger contact area and so less deformation. For each race event, each driver is supplied with four new front tyres and four new rear tyres, plus one front and one rear tyre from the previous event.

Championship specific wheel dimensions:

O.Z. Racing Magnesium rims

Max width front:

260mm / rear 305mm

Max Diameter:

front 650mm / rear 690mm

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The Sporting Regulations

CHAMPIONSHIP

The FIA Formula E Championship will consist of both a Drivers and a Teams’ championship. Points accumulated at all races now count to the overall classification in both categories.

DRIVERS

The FIA Formula E championship has decided to implement a limit of two driver changes per race number for the second season. What’s more, no changes will be permitted for the final three races except in cases of force majeure.

Super Pole – NEW FOR SEASON 2

The five fastest drivers from qualifying will then contest a single-lap Super Pole session to determine the top five positions on the grid, while the maximum power output in qualifying trim will be to 200kW.

FanBoost

Fan Boost has been revamped ahead of Formula E’s second championship. Voting will open 12 days prior to the event while fans will also be able to cast their ballot in real-time until six minutes into the race. The voting will again be possible on the official Formula E website and app, as well as on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using the relevant hashtags. The three most popular drivers will get an extra 100kJ of energy that can only be used after swapping car mid-race.

PIT STOPS/CAR CHANGES

During races, drivers must make one mandatory pit stop in order to change cars. This must take place in their box and be observed by an FIA steward to ensure all safety equipment is correctly applied. A minimum time period (determined on the day) will also be enforced. Tyre changes, unless a puncture, are not permitted during this pit stop.

FULL COURSE YELLOW

The second Formula E season also sees the introduction of a Full Course Yellow (FCY) system – similar to those seen in other FIA championships and F1’s Virtual Safety Car. Under the FCY regulations all drivers must maintain the gap to the car in front and abide by a 50kph speed limit, including in pitlane, which remains open.

POINTS

Drivers will score points using the standard FIA system of:
1st = 25pts

2nd = 18pts

3th = 15pts

4th = 12pts

5th = 10pts

6th = 8pts

7th = 6pts

8th = 4pts

9th = 2pts

10th = 1pt.

Three points will be awarded to the driver securing pole position, whilst the driver setting the fastest lap receives two points.

LICENCE

New changes have been made to the e-Licence system for 2015/2016 and will be mandatory for any driver wanting to participate. In order to qualify for an e- Licence the following will be required:

• A specific FIA training session regarding the most important points of the electrical safety, technical and sporting regulations of the competition.
• To have accumulated in the previous three years at least 20 points of the FIA points system used to qualify to the F1 Super Licence, or to have previously been holding an F1 Super Licence, or to have participated in at least three races of the previous FIA Formula E Championship.

• A driver judged by the FIA to have consistently demonstrated outstanding ability in single-seater formula cars, but with no opportunity to qualify under any of the requirements above.

CAR CHARGING

Car charging is only forbidden during qualifying and the race, together with their respective Parc Ferme periods. Charging can take place during non-qualifying (practice) periods.