Cyril Abiteboul says the decision to reduce the number of allowable power units from four to three in 2018 could be beneficial to Renault Sport, as other manufacturers may have to sacrifice their ‘magic’ modes in Qualifying in order to maintain reliability.
The team boss of the Enstone-based Renault Sport Formula 1 Team outfit says the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at the end of 2017 showed that the team has come on leaps and bounds in their ability to get better performance levels from their power unit, with Nico Hülkenberg managing to overcome a five-second time penalty and overhauling Sergio Perez’s Mercedes-powered Sahara Force India F1 Team machine to finish sixth.
But their lack of a Qualifying mode meant the Renault-powered outfits found themselves compromised on a Saturday, but Abiteboul reckons the reduction in power units could negate this, as all manufacturers will need to prioritise reliability.
“The pace in Abu Dhabi has shown we are much better in trying to assess the best compromise between performance and reliability,” said Abiteboul to Motorsport.com.
“There is more to come for next year – even though we know also the regulations will make it more difficult to have purely qualifying modes.
“You will need to have only three engines per driver next season, so that’s something also to take into account, because the qualifying mode is the combination between tricks maybe like oil burn – which will become much more restricted – but also the fact that you are damaging the engine.
“I’m expecting most manufacturers to be much more conservative in the way they operate the engine, but we are also looking at our own ways to extract more performance on a limited number of laps.”