Renault power unit upgrade kiboshed

Renault Formula 1 V6 Turbo

Given that the artic nature of the Red Bull Racing and Renault F1 relationship, the politics surrounding the big Renault in season power unit upgrade were always going to be difficult to plot. Initially, Red Bull suggested in Monza they would not ‘need’ to run the Renault upgrade given that they took two more engines per car, to increase the pool of PU’s in circulation and available without further penalty.

“What you have to calculate is the increase performance worth the deficit of grid positions?,” Horner commented. “I think with Ricciardo he is going to have to take another engine, so theoretically that should be the D-spec if it’s reliable”.

There was talk of the D-spec being available for Russia, then Austin, then Mexico – though RBR finally relented in Brazil and ran the Renault upgrade in Ricciardo’s car. Renault had provided the FIA with details of their new PU stating they had deployed 11 development tokens. Yet presumably due to more shenanigans between RBR and Renault, the PU Ricciardo used claimed by RBR to not be compatible with the exhaust and other components. The D-Spec PU finally deployed in the Aussies RB11 had upgrades worth just 7 tokens.

Predictably, during the race the performance advantage for Riccardo when compared to Kvyat – using the old spec PU – was negligible. To many, Red Bull Racing succeeded in putting the kibosh on any proper testing of Renault’s PU development efforts

Cyril Abiteboul admitted today: “It is true that recent history and uncertainty with Red Bull have loosened the technical collaboration that there was between our respective teams. Our dialogue has almost stopped. It was only fair for next year, but maybe where we should have been a bit more careful was that it didn’t stop for this year”.

“It meant we were not maximising the performance improvement of that engine [in Ricciardo’s car in Brazil], because if you change one element of the power unit you need to think of the side effect of all the other elements of the power unit.”

Red Bull Racing have now decided Daniel Ricciardo will race in Abu Dhabi with an engine used prior to Brazil. The testing of the newly developed Renault PU is over for this year. Ricciardo will not suffer any grid penalties because this PU was introduced during the Monza weekend along with others – which meant RBR took sufficient penalties that should have seen them start the race from Piazza del Duomo.

15 responses to “Renault power unit upgrade kiboshed

  1. I don’t know why RBR at this stage would hamper the development of the Renault PU. It’s clear they have only two choices: 1) Use Renault PU next season 2) Have no PU.

    They can’t take a Renault block and make their own “PU” from it (this is against the rules and Renault have already explained why this just can’t happen) and they can’t develop an engine from scratch as this takes years to develop.

    • I do. It’s to force Renault to develop the engine how they want. RBR have shown that the Renault way didn’t approach. Now they will refuse to take upgraded engines unless they have an input on how these engines are upgraded.

      • Renault will be a complete works team provided the lotus acquisition still takes place. If that’s the case they simply won’t care what RBR want.

    • Cyril doesn’t make the rules. I love how in appendix 4 of the sporting regs, it appears to give the FIA absolute discretion over approving a new PU manufacturer

  2. It does seem like Red Bull are sticking the boot in. They must have a cast iron plan for a 2016 power unit otherwise they are stupid in the extreme.

  3. The Turbo and exhaust were not available in Austin when the new engine turned up.
    Remy Taffin stated that grid penalties were a consideration, as was the weather for data collection and he was right, He also ruled out mexico because of altitude effect on the engine, the engine was 7 km slower than the older spec in brazil that data was from RBR, and it would be RBRs decision if they ran it in Brazil and we seen what happened there.
    i Doubt that there will be any RBR engine announcement this weekend and only maybe a works announcement for RenaultF1

  4. I am beginning to wonder if some very dark project has been going on at the skunkworks to develop a ‘bottom end’ compatible with Ilien’s head design. It would be so funny if Red Bull have been stringing Renault along and if they cannot get the deal they want or are “not allowed” to have, just maybe they will make the whole cat and kaboodle themselves, leaving Renault somewhat strapped for cash! It would be a tall order to have accomplished that task but RB do have the resources do make me think it might be possible.

    • That would be appropriate payback for Renault given how much they’ve embarrassed Red Bull this year.

      I approve!

      • I think most people who have any historical perspective of F1 throughout the years would suggest Marko et al’s petulant and childish behaviour is unprecedented – and that engine manufacturers have regularly screwed up royally

    • You may well be right and I hope you are, would love to see a PU from Red Bull. I don’t think Renault would loose any money from Red Bull. My understanding is their Renault PU supply contract runs to the end of 2016 and it has never been cancelled. So even if they don’t use the Renault PU they have to pay for it!!!

  5. There are separate grid penalties for each element of the PU. If RBR were able to fit the new exhaust and turbo and wished to use it, they would incur at least a further ~10 place grid penalty.

    Considering their previous unwillingness to use the new ICE due to the grid penalty, it is not surprising that they do not want to incur any more grid penalties.

    • I don’t think grid penalties would be as bad as it sounds if they had a PU worthy of a push through the field. unfortunately for a team like red bull they have Renault in the back of their chassis.

      Also, it might help if even one of their developments were an improvement, however Renault has only gone backwards in 2 years. What an emberrasement for the sport and Renault. Cannot believe Cyril still has a job.

      My guess is ghson green lights this venture the first person gone is Cyril. If he sticks around then my suspicions would be his failure was a strategy and red bull were right in thinking Renault was intentionally sinking the ship.

      I could be completely wrong though, if any team were to reward failure at the level Renault has displayed, it would be the team that crashes cars on purpose.

  6. cyril has just made a significant ‘mea culpa’ alongside a general admission of failure re engines performance.

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