Daniel Ricciardo Received a new Internal Combustion Engine for the Brazil GP. This is the long awaited Upgrade that Renault has been working on since the beginning of the season. As has been published prior, Mario Illien has been working separately on the Renault PU, devising his own solutions to Renault’s problems on Red Bulls dime. He has publicly stated that none of his designs have made it into this Renault upgrade, they are all updates designed by Renault.
We know for sure that all of the 11 tokens that were cashed in, are for upgrades to the ICE only. This is because Daniel Ricciardo has only taken a 10 place grid penalty. If Daniel had used tokens on any of the other 5 parts of the engine, he would have received more grid penalties.
Red Bull have apparently told Sky News that if the upgrades made to Ricciardo’s ICE were positive, they would upgrade Kvyat before Qualifying. So is it worth it? Lets take a look at their times during FP 1& 2.
With just a cursory view, one can tell that there are no dramatic time differences between the two cars.
In FP1, when both drivers ran the medium Tyre, but unknown fuel loads, their times over the entire session averaged out to as follows:
Ricciardo is about 0.1 a lap faster.
They both got in two Quali practice laps on the soft tyre in FP2,
KVY 1:13.848 & 1:14.088
RIC 1:13.585 & 1:13.811
Assuming they were on identical fuel loads, that puts RIC about 0.3 up on KVY over a single lap.
Now lets look at the FP2 Averages, as both drivers were able to get about a 10 lap stint in on each dry Tyre. On the soft they are dead even
KVY averaged a 1:17.524
RIC averaged a 1:17.541
On the Medium, Kvyat is half a second quicker.
KVY averaged a 1:17.489 on the medium
RIC averaged a 1:18.094
So there are no definitive answers, but that in itself is really an answer. At any other point in the season, without being able to show a substantial improvement in the new ICE, Red Bull should probably not take the grid penalty for Kvyat. However, right now there is literally nothing to lose. They cannot overtake Williams without 2 back to back miracles, and Force India will not overtake them unless both Red Bulls fail to finish the next two races and FI takes a giant leap up. The only battle KVY and RIC can fight is with each other, which is a pointless fight.
The only reason RB should take the upgrade on the Renault PU for Kvyat is to gain more data. As it looks now, RB will be using the Renault block, at a minimum, as the basis of next years rebranded PU, and as long as Renault is allowing them to collect data on it, they should take advantage of the opportunity.
After FP2 today Ricciardo was able to give his opinion the new Engine:
“The positive was it ran all day so we got laps and good information, but the power difference is not so much. Williams and Ferrari will show a bit more speed tomorrow. The engine was reliable, sure, but I want a bit more power from it. It’s not as much as we would like, but at least we got some good laps and good information.”
Not a ringing endorsement for sure.