Red bull team boss Christian Horner reveals that Reanualt are at present have a BHP defecit to Mercedes.
Since the hybrid rules arrived in 2014, Renault have been behind the 8 ball with their power unit. The French manufacturer was savaged last year by the Red Bull team for their PU’s woeful performance, but Renault have stepped up to the plate in 2016. Such is the change even Christian Horner appears moderately pleased with progress.
This is evidenced by Honda confirming an absence of interest this year from Red Bull Racing about a power unit tie partnership.
“I think that Renault have made some great steps”, Horner concedes. “We know that there’s more in the pipeline and I think there’s definitely more to come and it’s how it works in harmony with the chassis.”
Red Bull Racing have installed their secret lair – building 9 in Milton Keynes – a multi million state of the art Virtual Test Track. This AVL manufactured piece of kit has the sole purpose of harmonising the marriage of chassis and engine, to an optimum performance capabilities.
Horner reveals Renault have identified the next step in their PU development. “I think we know that we are 35 kilowatts behind, that’s what the Renault guys tell us, and we know the plans they have in place to close that gap down.”
35 kilowatts equates to around 47 bhp in real money, and refinements are also in the pipeline says the Red Bull boss. “Well we have some fuel and some tuning and drivability that there is definitely performance to come from. We’re quite confident that they’ll still be some steps of performance by tidying up what we actually have.”
Renault recently spent 3 engine tokens on the upgraded engine launched in Monaco, bringing their season total to just 11 tokens.
Despite this frugal deployment of power unit development tokens, the performance jump has been significant. This drive for efficiency improvements bears the hallmarks of a certain Mario Illien, who Red Bull brought to the party back in 2015.
Renault were reluctant to accept his analysis of their power unit, though have since embraced the ex-Mercedes and Ilmor engine guru into the bosom of Viry Chatillon.
Engine tokens used so far…
Ferrari 26 (6 remaining)
Mercedes 21 (11 remaining)
Honda 18 (14 remaining)
Renault 11 (21 remaining