Formula 1

Renault Optimistic they can take Fight to Mercedes

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For the first time in 2014, the Renault-powered teams should be able to pinpoint exactly where they are in relation to the Mercedes and Ferrari-powered teams.

The upgrades being brought to the Canadian Grand Prix should enable Infiniti Red Bull Racing, Scuderia Toro Rosso, Lotus and Caterham to use the power unit to its maximum setting, rather than the recovery mode it has been utilising in the races up to now.

Renault Sport F1 head of track operations Remi Taffin spoke about the upgrades to the power unit they are bringing to the Montreal track.

“At the start of the season we said that we would be out of recovery mode and back on track from the Canadian Grand Prix onwards,” said Taffin. “In the last four races we’ve introduced several new upgrades and we will complete the process in Montreal, effectively giving us the first full opportunity to see where we are versus the competition.

“Even though we know that the competition is extremely strong, we go to Montreal in an optimistic frame of mind as we always do our best to win on track. It will still be a very good test of how far we’ve come since the difficult winter testing period and how much work remains to be done.

“We have several new parts to debut here, primarily designed to give us greater reliability. As in previous races we have more upgrades to software to further enhance driveability and energy management.”

Taffin also confirmed Renault investigated all of the issues the Renault-powered teams suffered in the previous round at Monaco, including those of World Champion Sebastian Vettel’s Red Bull machine and the two Toro Rosso’s of Daniil Kvyat and Jean-Eric Vergne that both suffered exhaust issues. All three drivers were on course for points before retirement, with Vettel running third on the road behind the two Mercedes up front.

“Additionally we have investigated the reasons for the failures in Monaco and have taken measures to ensure they do not reoccur,” insisted Taffin. “In particular we have looked at Vettel’s issue, which was traced back to a mechanical problem with the MGU-H. The part in question has been revisited and further end of line checks have made it more robust now.

“The exhaust issues on the Toro Rosso’s have also been investigated with the team and together we have seen how we can avoid further issues in future thanks to improvements to our diagnosis and understanding of the full exhaust system behaviour in the car.”

A significant amount of the lap is taken at full throttle; indeed over 55% of the lap is taken with the foot to the floor. While not at the level of Spa and Monza where over 70% of the lap is at full throttle, this affects the energy recovery under braking via the MGU-K, which Taffin says will make the energy recovered from the exhaust-based MGU-H more important in Montreal.

“These developments will all be of benefit in Montreal, which represents the toughest challenge of the year so far for the Power Units,” said Taffin. “The long straights demand maximum power for a high percentage of the lap, therefore stressing the ICE hugely. I expect we’ll see speeds in excess of 330kph as we did in Barcelona so we will rely on the MGU-K and MGU-H to boost both top speed and acceleration.

“With very few corners energy recovery via the MGU-K will however be pretty difficult as the cars do not slow frequently over the lap. As a result the emphasis will be on the MGU-H to recover energy through the exhaust gasses – we’ll need as much energy as we can as we’ll be right on the limit with the fuel consumption here. Having said that, we will also monitor the right balance between traditional and electrical energy to decide the most effective way to use the fuel in the race.”

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