The Italian based junior team of Red Bull Racing, have confirmed that the return to Renault hybrid power for the 2017 season is a boost to their design efforts of next year. Toro Rosso’s highly regarded technical director James Key says knowing the power unit package for next year so early, is a “massive” advantage to the Faenza team.
“Massive. It’s very difficult to describe how big it is,” Key told Motorsport.com about the difference it makes to have its engine supplier confirmed so early.
“We are really happy to know which engine we’ll be using now. That was a very tough situation with this car.
“We were very late with the Ferrari engine. We didn’t really have any information about the Ferrari engine, so we sat down with them in December and discussed things, so it was extremely late.
“The fact is you build the architecture of your car around the power unit installation, and it’s so complicated now. It’s so much trouble. An optimum car is based around the integration of the power unit.”
The deal to return to Renault was announced in May, which poured cold water on the rumour to link up with Honda. The engine deal last year however to run a 2015 spec Ferrari power unit for this season came late, most certainly compromising design to the STR11 car. James went on to say:
“We tried to minimise the impact of that, but inevitably there are knock-on effects,” he said. “The car was a bit too heavy at the start of the year. We had some issues with some of the cooling parameters.
“Many other things weren’t optimum, we had to make some guesses in some places. And it costs you a lot of money as well. To do that in such a short space of time costs you a lot of money.
“There are many, many things which even if it’s difficult to tell when you see the car on the track, actually you know what’s wrong with that car because you’ve had some compromises.”
Key also stated that 2017 is full of optimism as the new chassis is making good progress, stopping short on judging how the 2017 regulations will impact the grid.
“I think it’s okay,” Key said. “We are sort of on schedule at the moment, although the schedules move depending on what you find.
“I know most people are pretty hectic now with their 2017 cars. It’s very difficult to tell how you are doing because you don’t know what other people are doing with the regulations.
“One of the hardest bits is knowing what makes a car with such massive regulations change tick. It’s so difficult to tell at this stage.
“We are going down a route of really trying to understand what makes a good 2017 car and see if we can achieve it.”