#F1 Forensics: Is it worth it for RB to upgrade Kvyat’s ICE?



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:

KVY      1:16.329

RIC       1:16.220

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.


22 responses to “#F1 Forensics: Is it worth it for RB to upgrade Kvyat’s ICE?

  1. So this is what Renault have been working on for the whole season… sorry, but the more we discover about Renault, the more justified RBR seem to have been in providing some criticism.

    • Yes agree.

      Maybe Renault have used the 11 tokens to try and improve their shocking reliability? There was some suggestions in the media that Renault have deliberately left out the turbo upgrade on this new update…

      Just waiting on this new unit of Ricciardo’s to grenade in qualifying. 200 place grid penalty for you mate.

      Mario Illien probably laughing his head off right now.

      Ps. good write up TJ13.

  2. There’s nit-picking and there’s, well….simply more nit-picking.
    You seemed to answer your own question….so, this is simply nit-picking. Plain and simple!

  3. There are no surprises here. Ricciardo was quoted before they even installed this so called “upgraded” engine that it was only worth one tenth a lap. It does show that Renault are clueless to getting any more power out of this lemon of setup they have designed.

  4. Good comments above guys.

    I feel this is maybe part of the deal for RBR and Renault to move forward for 2016, ie that if RBR want engines whether branded or not next year they need to see for themselves (data) if this engine is worth them getting Mario to modify or possibly go the Ferrari route?

    Also Renault on the other hand desperately need RBR to run this engine so they can make changes before next year.

  5. You can also see why mario illien has distanced himself from this and said this new upgrade contains none of his work. I wouldn’t want my name anywhere near it either lol

    • This is so true,lol.

      I know Renault cannot use Mario’s IP for next years engine, particularly the new cylinder head design, but I wonder since now they have seen his design they can ‘try’ and design something similar without infringing on his IP?

      Probably not likely, going by Renault’s current good form : S

  6. I do wonder if Renault using most of their tokens so late is a contractual issue. i.e. Renaults contract with Red Bull may have stated that Renault has to ‘develop’ the engine during the season otherwise Renault default on their contractual obligations and Red Bull have a free exit.
    Mind you it does seem like Red Bull are holding their tongue. So maybe there is hope they can work with Renault to supply a ‘half engine’.

    • Yeah it is very interesting how RBR management have gone very quite. I gotta say this does seem to point towards them running a Renault branded motor (no mods,nothing) next season as per their original contract with Renault.

    • Not very likely, as the ability to introduce updates was not weaseled out until just before the start of the season, and the RB/Renault contract has been around.

  7. I wonder if Renault spent the best part of the season and all the 11 tokens on painting the valve covers of the engine a different colour.

  8. I’m sure I read somewhere, that the changes Renault have made to their ICE with the tokens they have, is more in preparation and to compliment the changes they are going to make over the winter. I believe there is a certain level of restriction on what can and can’t be done. So if they have 28 more tokens to spend over the winter, what they have just introduced would theoretically give them an aggregate 40 token upgrade, allowing what could be a massive improvement in performance once all the gains come together. If they hadn’t of managed to get RedBull or Torro Rosso to run this upgrade before the end of the season, it wouldn’t have been eligible for the 2015 homologation and their unused tokens would have been lost.
    The long and the short of it all, is that there may very well be little to visibly show for the update right now, but only once it’s been combined with the winter program will any of us be able to see if Renault have got on top of their woes. Ferrari made a big step last winter, so after the level of public slating and embarrassment Renault have endured, you would think the motivation and will is there in abundance to perform a similar feat. I for one would love to see a 3 way battle at the front between RB (with their own ERS design and ICE development), Ferrari and Mercedes, it would be even better if McLaren/Honda can get there fingers out of their bottoms and if Renault do a really good job, maybe their works team can get in the mix too.
    I’m almost disappointed there is proposals to change the look of the cars in 2017, as the way things are shaping up, if the chassis regs were kept fairly stable we would be in for some immense racing at the front, starting nexts season with Ferrar/Mercedes battle and everyone else joining in for ’17 and ’18. Let’s just hope they consider the ‘dirty air’ problems that made following closely for prolonged periods near impossible.

  9. It was postulated a few weeks ago that Renault needed Red Bull to run the new engine before the end of the season in order to show Renault management that they had a power unit worthy of their own ‘works’ team ie the take over of Lotus. If that were true I do not think they have demonstrated anything like enough potential though they may have Turbo and ES tweeks that were included in the 11 tokens but not deployed in Riciardo’s car. I do wonder if the performace so far has cast and doubt on the purchase of Lotus. The other issue is the terrible terrorist attacks on Paris yesterday and one has to wonder if the French appitite for F1 will have waned. We all know that life should go on as normal or the terrorists ‘win’ but even so if you were mking the call this week you would consider these things.

  10. One thing I find odd with the recent revelations of this part Renault part illien 2016 engine is why the other teams have not opposed this. Essentially Renault has played a card I think could be masterful in they get a second chance at designing this engine. Red Bull is their puppet screaming unfairness and bigotry. We could leave the sport…look at my hands over here… Distraction Disctraction. Boom Red Bull gets new RENAULT engine designed like it should’ve been.

    • John Matt Somerfield wrote a very good piece on this:


      Basically as soon as RBR forced its way into Renault and its team were working on the Renault ICE, RBR also owned the ICE – probably something Renault didn’t foresee and were a tad slack on.

      My understanding is that RBR can now clam to own a fair bit of the Renault ICE.

      Also RBR have developed the ERS not Renault, which Renault depends on RBR for now.

      If this is true you can see how convoluted this is and why it has taken so long for them to reach any type of agreement.

  11. Maybe it’s a little early to oppose anything john, while they’re still working out the IP arrangement. That arrangement seems to be RB-Illien jointly owned with Renault coming a distant third. desperately trying to stay in control.
    I think not so much masterful but that RB have ground them down.
    I can certainly live with two Renault iterations, so I’m looking forward to the RB-Illien alliance creaming Renault.

    What I’m really waiting for is one of the manufacturers to wake up and realise that they presently have both FIA and FOM by their nuts and it’s time to start squeezing. Mercedes would be a prime choice and from news covered elsewhere Toto seems to be stirring, having no doubt been motivated by the Board of Merc. (Ferrari won’t have the gumption, the Eyeties are always traditionally lacking at this sort of thing). The whole shebang could unravel very quickly.

  12. In F1 right now if you’re a engine manufacturer you are in control. Specifically Ferrari and Mercedes I am talking. I don’t think FIA or FOM saw this comin. I think Red Bull at the very least are standing up and fighting back. I gotta give it to them. I’m sure yeah the 100+ million exit fee makes it difficult to just walk. After looking back at the year and hearing RedBull complaining I was upset. Now I can see why they stood their ground. Hopefully they find performance.

    Another thing I found interesting was motogp this year where on long straights the Honda got by the Yamaha relatively easy. It made for interesting racing where you had differing levels of performance in different areas. Thinking back to 2010 when rb6 was down on top speed and were sitting ducks on long straights but their aero grip would let them get the overall lap time. Not sure if that’s in the cards for 2017 rule changes.

    I guess we cried to end the RedBull era and we just got more of the same with Mercedes era.

  13. Well said John.

    I hate the way RBR have handled things but it I am in support of them as an independent that is fighting the establishment.

    I can’t wait to see Sir Newey’s interpretation of the 2017 rules…

  14. Interesting quote from Ricciardo over the weekend “From what I have seen, Daniil was quicker on the straights, so yes, it was a possible disadvantage,” (he was asked about the new upgraded engine). Seems he was suggesting that somehow renault have gone backwards yet again.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.