Red Bull pin hopes on Re­nault en­gine up­grade

F1 Racing - - INSIDER -

Re­nault plan ma­jor up­grade for Rus­sian GP that could take for­mer world cham­pi­ons Red Bull to within 20bhp of Mercedes

Red Bull are push­ing Re­nault hard to press on with build­ing a new en­gine that will close the per­for­mance gap to the lead­ing power units.

Re­nault are around 50bhp be­hind Mercedes and Fer­rari, hav­ing failed to make any real progress with their en­gine over the win­ter.

A sin­gle-cylin­der en­gine run on the dy­namome­ter at Re­nault Sport’s base at Viry-Chatil­lon near Paris has shown an im­prove­ment of in the re­gion of 2-4 per cent. If this trans­lates to the full-size six-cylin­der en­gine, it would bring Re­nault to within 20-35bhp of the Mercedes en­gine.

This would en­able Red Bull to run their cars with­out the aero­dy­namic com­pro­mises re­quired on most tracks be­cause they are down on power. That might be just enough for them to chal­lenge Fer­rari and Wil­liams for best-ofthe-rest sta­tus be­hind Mercedes.

Re­nault Sport boss Cyril Abite­boul has promised a signicant change for the bet­ter. “There will be an im­prove­ment to the en­gine, an up­grade in the course of this sea­son,” he said, “and I re­ally hope this will be the type of up­grade that is vis­i­ble not just to our cus­tomers and per­for­mance engi­neers but to ev­ery­one – in­clud­ing me.”

The up­grades are aimed at im­prov­ing the com­bus­tion process of the Re­nault en­gine, which both par­ties ac­cept is its ma­jor short­fall com­pared to Mercedes.

Red Bull are keep­ing up the pres­sure, both pri­vately and in public. Over a difcult 18 months, the for­mer world cham­pion con­struc­tors have fre­quently and se­verely crit­i­cised the en­gine part­ner with whom they won four con­sec­u­tive world ti­tle dou­bles.

Red Bull team prin­ci­pal Chris­tian Horner says the ear­li­est the up­grade can be ex­pected is at the Rus­sian Grand Prix. “They now have some strate­gic de­ci­sions about im­ple­men­ta­tion, and the di­rec­tion they want to take their de­vel­op­ment for the rest of this sea­son – and that has an im­pact on next year,” Horner said.

“Of course it tests our pa­tience. Like any com­pet­i­tive team we want per­for­mance yesterday, and with en­gines the lead time is a lot longer than with the chas­sis. Pa­tience is some­thing that we are not re­ally good at. We want to have per­for­mance as soon as pos­si­ble.

“From where the con­cept is at the mo­ment you are look­ing at least at a cou­ple of months. It needs to hap­pen this year – but also what we learn this year will help us next sea­son.”

An im­pa­tient Red Bull have had to com­pro­mise on aero­dy­nam­ics this year to make up for the lack of power from their Re­nault PU

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