Renault Sport F1 Head of Track Operations Remi Taffin feels the Silverstone track will see higher straight-line speeds than in recent years as Formula One reaches the British Grand Prix. The Infiniti Red Bull Racing, Lotus F1, Scuderia Toro Rosso and Caterham F1 Teams all use Renault-power.
“Silverstone is one of the most interesting circuits from a Power Unit point of view,” said Taffin. “Over the years it has become known as a power track and this year will be no different with the hybrid units. In fact the high torque, low downforce cars should produce even quicker speeds than we have seen in previous years.
“It’s always a pleasure to visit Silverstone. The crowds are always huge and very passionate and knowledgeable about the sport. It is particularly poignant to be back here with the turbo engines after Renault debuted the first-ever F1 turbo back in 1977. We are going there in a positive frame of mind. It’s fair to say that Austria was frustrating and disappointing but we’ve looked at every scenario in a very detailed manner and are confident the failures won’t happen again. There have been changes on two levels; both technically in terms of software evolution and in terms of procedures to ensure we catch an issue before it becomes a major problem. We go there with a clean sheet of paper.”
Taffin touched on some of the characteristics of the Silverstone circuit and what they mean in relation to the Renault engines, especially with the length of time the throttle will be in operation.
“Over 60% of the circuit is taken at full throttle; in fact from Luffield to Stowe the ICE, turbo and MGU-H will be flat out for a total of almost 40secs. After going through Luffield the driver will accelerate down the old pit straight, reaching speeds of well over 310kph before a short lift off for Copse. The time taken from the driver lifting off to being fully back on it again is less than one second. The challenge for Renault’s engine engineers is therefore to allow the engine to effectively function as a switch, going from “fully off” to “fully on” almost instantaneously.
“After Copse the car will have another 10secs of wide open throttle before the high speed turns of Maggots and Becketts. Enormous pressures will go through the internals here as the driver shifts from side to side at an average of 200kph. Then it’s back on the gas for another 15secs down the Hangar Straight. The only other place we will see this long distance of open throttle is Spa. We’ll be looking to the MGU-H to feed the MGU-K throughout this period of acceleration, not only to increase top speed but also to reduce fuel consumption.
“The Wellington Loop complex will give opportunity for the MGU-K to recover energy through braking and recharge the battery. In fact this new complex is a blessing for the new PUs [Power Units] since the percentage of wide open throttle and quick corners would otherwise make this a very tricky race to manage in terms of the 100kg fuel limit.”
The Renault group have also announced that the President and Managing Director of Renault Sport F1 Jean-Michel Jalinier has decided to retire due to personal reasons and will be replaced in the position by Jerome Stoll. Stoll will combine his new role with his responsibilities as Chief Performance Officer and Group Sales and Marketing Director.
Cyril Abiteboul, who was announced to have left the Caterham F1 Team when Tony Fernandes sold the operation yesterday, has been confirmed to return to the Renault Company, taking on the role of Managing Director of Renault Sport F1. Abiteboul will report to Stoll in the newly created role within the company.