Renault Sport Formula 1 Team’s Engine Technical Director, Rémi Taffin, has explained how engine performance differs at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, revealing how cars will cope this weekend.
The circuit is over 2,000m (two kilometres) above sea level, and is over 1,000 (one kilometre) higher than next-highest track Interlagos. This means the air is much thinner, and less air means less air resistance. This helped cars reach over 230mph on the main straight last year, and with this year’s cars producing even more downforce, could help them reach even higher speeds this year.
This might be good for the fans, but gives engineers more to think about says Taffin.
“The thinner air means the turbo has to spin at a higher rate to input enough oxygen into the ICE; it actually spins 8% more in Mexico than in Abu Dhabi.
“Equally, fuel consumption over one lap is quite low so energy recovery is less critical in Mexico than at other circuits.”
With the engine facing less work, Taffin will be hoping that reliability can improve – as he says it’s an area the team has suffered from all season.
“Over the course of the season we have made good strides in performance and seen our Power Units on the podium. However, we have suffered from too many reliability issues and it is an area where our attention is strongly focused as we try to continually increase performance on other parameters too.”
Whilst the 2017 season may still be underway, thoughts are already moving towards next year – particularly as Renault will be powering both the McLaren Honda Formula 1 Team and Red Bull Racing team. This is a challenge that is already being thought of, with Taffin particularly relishing the history of both teams.
“Back at Viry, of course, we are well into our 2018 programme as so much work is done ahead of the Power Unit getting to the track.
“On track too, we have brought certain elements which are relevant to our 2018 PU as we look to take another step forward. We have a busy four months before we see the 2018 cars unveiled, as we do every year.
“It’s always interesting working with a new technical partner as everyone has potential to bring something different to the table. McLaren, like Red Bull, have a tremendous history in the sport as well as amazing facilities to work with.
“We will learn how to work with McLaren while we keep optimising our collaboration with Red Bull.”