Renault expects cautious start with all-new 2017 F1 engine
Renault has warned its teams to not expect a dramatic step forward in engine power for the start of 2017, with radical concepts from its all-new power unit only likely to deliver proper gains later in the campaign.
As Motorsport.com revealed last month, Renault is working on a completely new engine concept for 2017 after feeling that the power unit it had used up to now had reached its development ceiling.
The new engine is being designed at the company's Viry-Chatillon headquarters but its chiefs are adamant that its focus for the start of the campaign is on reliability rather than out-and-out performance.
It means the phase one engine that will be used for the Australian Grand Prix will not show the power units full potential, as that will have to wait until the second power units are used around the time of the Spanish Grand Prix.
Renault F1 managing director Cyril Abiteboul said that opting for an all-new concept was essential if his company was to target world title glory in the next few years – but short-term compromises would be necessary for it to not hurt its finishing rate.
In an exclusive interview with Motorsport.com, Abiteboul revealed that Renault's plan included the use of technology not seen in F1 before, but such bold concepts would not be ready for the start of the 2017 season.
"I prefer to be conservative in the expectation for the first initial running of the engine at the start of the season," explained Abiteboul.
"But definitely it is an engine that is offering the potential to cope with an awful lot of development. We have lot of ideas of concepts in the pipelines – most of them, as far as I am aware, have not been seen at the track.
"Clearly I am not going to disclose anything, but we are super excited by the level of innovation that this new platform offers. So it is a choice that we are not making for the start of the season but we are definitely making for the long term."
When asked how much of a gamble it was for Renault to deliver an all-new concept of engine next year, Abiteboul said: "It is a good question.
"Frankly we have had long discussions about that because at the point in time that everything is changing on the rest of the car, we could have taken a more conservative approach in trying to freeze what we have and focus on the chassis.
"But we have not gone for that. We have gone for a very aggressive option – which is that there is no time. If we want to be where we would like to be for 2018 or 2020, which is the next phase, when we want to target the top teams, we cannot afford to delay anything. So we need to accept to take risk.
"We will be focusing on reliability with that new concept of engine – which will be a new concept I can confirm that.
"It means that it may not be a big jump in terms of performance, simply for the reason that we want to make sure to introduce this concept that it is reliable and that will be the perfect platform to develop the performance for the next three to four years."
Closing the gap
Red Bull has said that if Renault can close to within 3 percent of Mercedes in the power stakes – which is the deficit it had in the V8 era – then it believes it will be enough for it to fight for the title next year.
Abiteboul thought it too early to make such judgements, but said Renault's ambition went well beyond that target.
"I don't know how Red Bull is capable of projecting themselves next year," he said. "When I look how fast or how quickly the car is changing in our wind tunnel, I am sure it is the same for all teams. So it is very difficult to think what will be the pecking order.
"It is a very exciting time for everybody in F1. Clearly this season if they had been within 3 percent that for sure maybe would have been better, but I am not sure that would have been enough to fight for the championship. We know where they want to be.
"We are committed to having the best engine in the grid. Not just within 1 percent but to have the best. And as I said, we think we have a number of idea of technological concepts that can allow us to be better than Mercedes in the future."
Posted 27 December 2016 - 11:17
Renault expects cautious start with all-new 2017 F1 engine
Posted 29 December 2016 - 16:14
Ne znam zasto Reno pristaje na ovo?
Scuderia Toro Rosso is in discussions with an unnamed sponsor to re-brand its Renault engines next season.
The deal will be similar to that employed by sister team Red Bull Racing, which runs its engines under the TAG-Heuer name, a consequence of the public spat with Renault in 2015.
“We have the opportunity of finding a title sponsor to rebrand our 2017 engine, as Red Bull did last year with TAG-Heuer,” team principal Franz Tost told Gazzetta dello Sport.
“We are in talks and are in discussions with a sponsor.”
Toro Rosso switches back to Renault power units in 2017 after a single season using year-old Ferrari engines.
Meanwhile, Tost added that Toro Rosso's 2017 car will make its debut shortly before the first pre-season test with an outing planned as part of a filming day.
“We have done the crash tests and will do a filming day with the new car before the first winter test,” he confirmed.
S obzirom da Red Bul ima Njuija, i da uprkos formalno odvojenim programima ipak postoji razmena informacija izmedju RBR i STR, za ocekivati je da ce u sezoni 2017. Bikovi imati bolje sasije od fabrickog Renoovog tima i biti bolje plasirani od njega. I onda umesto da poberu makar onoliko marketinskih poena koji sleduju konstruktoru motora, oni cak i od toga odustaju. Kakvo dobro im to moze doneti?
Posted 11 January 2017 - 12:16
James Allen’s View: This is a blow to Renault as Vasseur is a very capable manager. And it would appear to suggest that politics have got in the way with this team. It was always an uncomfortable arrangement for Cyril Abiteboul to be in charge, based in Viry and Vasseur to be in charge based at Enstone, but then they swapped over. And when a team principal isn’t based where his team is based you begin to wonder.
Vasseur is an expert at running racing teams. Abiteboul is a Renault executive, very bright and an excellent communicator, but also quite political. His experience of running F1 teams is limited to a spell in charge of Caterham, which ended badly. Whoever comes in to run the team will have to fit with Abiteboul and also Stoll, who heads the division.
Posted 26 January 2017 - 16:14
Posted 08 February 2017 - 21:36
Renault have revealed that they will be bringing their first engine upgrade to the 2017 Spanish Grand Prix.
"The signs are promising," said head of Red Bull driver development Helmut Marko. "The gap at Mercedes has been steadily reduced, we will be well positioned for the European part of the season. In terms of engines, I expect that we will be at Ferrari level, unless they make a giant leap. Mercedes is still a bit too high, but the gap is not so large that we don't have a chance."
Posted 08 February 2017 - 23:33
Nakon kupovine Mitsubishia...
U koji ide madjarski VW TDI 103kW, to je onaj što su lagali da ne smrdi...
Posted 10 February 2017 - 10:28
Renault's Managing Director, Cyril Abiteboul, has revealed that Alan Permane and Ciaron Pilbeam will take on the tasks carried out by former team boss Frédéric Vasseur.
Permane acts as Trackside Operations Director at Renault, while the French manufacturer poached Pilbeam from McLaren as its new Chief Race Engineer in December.
Abiteboul had been expected to assume further responsibilities following Vasseur's exit, which was announced last month, but has now made clear that this will not be the case.
"No, but I will be at every race and attend the team chief meetings," Abiteboul explained to German publication Auto Motor und Sport, when asked if he was now at the helm.
Posted 11 February 2017 - 22:16
Jolyon Palmer: Renault's 2017 target is to score in every race
Renault expect a big step forward in 2017, having spent much of its debut season, having acquired the Lotus team at the end of 2015, rebuilding its workforce and facilities as part of a five-year plan to win a world championship as a works team again.
The team scored points in just three races last year, bringing its tally to eight – 21 points less than newcomer Haas.
However following a year of learning for the team, driver Jolyon Palmer says the aim for 2017 is to battle in the midfield and score points in every race and he's confident they can achieve that.
"We think the top three – Mercedes, Red Bull, Ferrari – will continue to lead, but we can fight in the next group with Williams, Force India, McLaren and maybe Toro Rosso," he told Autocar. "We want to be fighting for points in every race."
Not only that, but Palmer believes a podium could be possible if they can have a "perfect race" next year.
"I dream of a podium," added the Briton. "Obviously, everything’s up in the air at present. You can’t know how others are doing.
"If we scored a podium, it would have to be the result of a perfect race. But if Force India can get two of them in 2016, we can do it next year. That’s what I feel right now, anyway..."
Posted 12 February 2017 - 15:17
Renault have announced that they have formed a partnership with Winfield Racing School to offer motorsport fans a chance to take part in driving programmes.
The partnership has been formed to allow developing racing drivers a chance to broaden their horizons, but also to give fans the chance to step into an F1 car. The following will be available to drive: a V8 Formula 1 car, a Formula Renault 2.0, an R.S.01, a Clio RS and a Megane RS Trophy.
Renault Sport's base will be situated at the Paul Ricard circuit, which will return to the Formula 1 calendar in 2018. Renault boss Cyril Abiteboul is excited by the partnership.
"The launch of this partnership with Winfield marks an important step in Renault's determination to share its passion for its racing activities," he said."Enthusiasts will discover Renault racing cars up to the ultimate level of motorsport, Formula 1 at one of the most beautiful circuits in the world. This ties in with our ambition to make the return of the Formula 1 French Grand Prix in 2018 more than just a one-off event," he continued.
"Professional drivers will have the opportunity to drive modern racing cars with tailor-made programmes developed and run by our F1 engineers. The state-of-the-art installation will also give us the opportunity to run events for our team partners."
"Winfield's promise is experience, emotion, engagement and exclusivity," added Frederic Garcia, Winfield Group President. "The driving programme developed with Renault clearly adheres to these promises. Spectating at a Formula 1 Grand Prix is a very nice experience, however to be behind the wheel of a modern F1 car enhances greatly these emotions and offers the most exclusive of experiences.
"Participants will get a unique taste of the complexity of this fabulous sport as they experience the extreme physical and mental demands of the high tech environment of Formula 1. Thanks to Renault and Winfield, anyone participating in this programme will never again watch a Grand Prix in the same way as before."
Renault not replacing boss Vasseur
Renault will not be directly replacing departed team boss Frederic Vasseur.
That is the claim of Cyril Abiteboul, despite some media reports naming the Frenchman as Vasseur's successor as team principal.
After just a year in charge of the French works team, Vasseur left amid speculation of a management dispute involving Abiteboul.
But Abiteboul remains managing director.
Asked by Germany's Auto Motor und Sport if he is the new boss, he answered: "No.
"But I will be at every race and attend the meetings of the team principals. I will ensure there is harmony in the group and between the factories in Enstone and Viry Chatillon.
"Alan Permane and Ciaron Pilbeam will fulfil the tasks on the pitwall very well," Abiteboul added.
"The decision not to replace Frederic directly is because our current management is strong enough to shoulder the task."
Renault had a difficult return as a full works team in 2016, and now Abiteboul is playing down hopes of significantly better performance this year.
"We are not looking for excuses -- we want to take a step in 2017," he said.
"On the other hand, the management needs to think about the medium and long term future. Our people must feel comfortable in the structure, because success depends on it," added Abiteboul.
"Our roadmap is that we want to go for the championship in 2020," he revealed. "If we want to get there, we have to be able to get podium places now and then in 2018.
"This means being in the midfield again this year," said Abiteboul. "It is anything but easy, but we have legitimate hopes of being between places five and seven."
Asked if that will be enough to satisfy the paymasters and decision-makers on the Renault board, Abiteboul sounded relaxed.
"Renault is not new to the sport. We've been in formula one for 40 years, and when the decision was made to return, everyone knew it would be difficult.
"We have to prove that we are on the right trajectory and achieving our goals," he said.
Edited by /13/Ален Шмит/, 12 February 2017 - 15:24.
Posted 14 February 2017 - 14:19
RENAULT RECRUITS RED BULL F1 AERODYNAMICIST TO HEAD UP DEPARTMENT
Former Red Bull designer Pete Machin will join the Renault Formula 1 team as its head of aerodynamics, it was announced today.
Machin, who has worked for the Milton Keynes-based Red Bull squad since it was formerly the Jaguar Racing team; will start working for Renault on 3 July. The Enstone-based team’s previous head of aero, Jon Tomlinson, will become the department’s deputy and will report to Machin.
Speaking as the news was announced, Machin, who was a senior CFD engineer at the Arrows F1 team between 1997 and 2002, described his pleasure at taking up his position with Renault, which comes alongside F1’s new aero rules that will lead to the cars producing significantly greater levels of downforce.
He said: “It is clear that Renault Sport is serious about mounting a fresh challenge within F1 and I am happy to join the team. Bob Bell headed-up the technical team when Renault last won world championships as a constructor, so I’m very much looking forward to working with him in my new role with that same achievement as the target.
“I have previously worked closely with both Nick Chester and Ciaron Pilbeam too, so I have good familiarity with some key personnel as well as the aspirations.
“The technical regulation changes for 2017 are the first significant change in four years and will allow F1 cars to achieve greater downforce than at any other time in the history of the sport, so it’s a very exciting time to be taking charge of aero development at Renault Sport Racing and I am confident in getting the team back to the sharp end of the grid.”
Cyril Abiteboul, the managing director of Renault Sport Racing, described Machin’s appointment as a “particular highlight” of the recruitment drive the team has been working on since being re-bought by the French manufacturer at the end of 2015.
He said: “We are very pleased to welcome Pete Machin to Enstone. Aerodynamics are obviously a hugely important element of the performance equation so to enlist Pete is a particular highlight of our recent recruitment programme.
“The latest generation of regulations are, if anything, more aero-crucial than before so to have Pete join us at such a time of exciting evolution will be of the greatest benefit. Pete will fit into our existing structure and we expect to see the fruits of his labours come on stream later in the year. This announcement is tremendously exciting for everyone at Renault Sport Racing.”
Renault’s high-profile return to F1 at the start of the 2016 season did not translate into instant success and the team finished ninth in the constructors’ championship with eight points coming courtesy of Kevin Magnussen and Jolyon Palmer.
But Renault was always acknowledged that 2016 would be focused on rebuilding the team after it faced severe financial difficulties during its final year as Lotus in 2015. Those difficulties meant the last Lotus car was left undeveloped and the team spent last year struggling to get the RS16 out of Q1 at many races.
The team’s chief technical officer Bob Bell explained last summer that its recruitment programme was “going well” after an increase in investment from Renault, and Machin’s appointment is the next step in that evolution.
Another team making new aero appointments is Williams, which is reportedly set to sign former Renault, Lotus and Ferrari aerodynamicist Dirk de Beer to a senior position.
Posted 15 February 2017 - 14:09
Renault has potential to match Mercedes - Abiteboul
After some pretty tough times in Formula 1 in recent years, you could forgive Renault for being a bit circumspect about its expectations for the season ahead.
But instead, as teams put the finishing touches to their cars ahead of next week's launches, the mood is one of quiet confidence – of progress for the works team and (perhaps more crucially for those who want to see a proper battle at the front) a decent leap from its all-new engine that will power Red Bull.
For Renault's F1 managing director Cyril Abiteboul, the power unit change is one that should eventually deliver it the scope to match Mercedes, and maybe even move ahead of it.
"We have got to confirm the turnaround that we started last year – because it is not completed yet," he told Motorsport.com about the engine progress. "We have a completely new engine architecture that we are introducing this year, and the first challenge with that will be to make it reliable.
"We already know for sure that it will offer the potential of performance to match Mercedes. There is absolutely no doubt about that. And maybe in the future the potential to overtake them.
"But first it has to be reliable. That is the main challenge and that is what we want to get. Also reliability will be important to develop the chassis."
Abiteboul's high hopes for the Renault engine comes after some character-building times in F1 which included the public bashing from Red Bull that left it on the verge of quitting the sport, and the disappointing 2016 campaign with its new works team.
But the worst of the tumultuous times should be behind it now, as Renault has undergone a pretty extensive restructuring at both Viry-Chatillon [its French engine base] and Enstone.
The benefits of that effort will not be fully felt for a while, but Abiteboul is sure that the time has come for its F1 structure to bed down.
"I think 2017 will be more of a consolidation year," he said. "In Viry, the focus is much more on quality rather than quantity. We may actually even reduce slightly the size of our operations to really focus on this generation of power unit, but also thinking of the next generation of power unit.
"On the chassis side, we have recruited something like 100 people so that is a growth of 20 percent of headcount, which is a lot. We are going to slow down a little bit the recruitment, make sure everyone is finding their feet.
"But I think in terms of the soldiers, we will have soon enough the capacity that we want and then it will be about management structure.
"What I will be more focused on is attracting and securing the right department heads that we need, which takes a bit of time because of the contractual situation.
"The more senior you go in an organisation, the longer it takes to get those people. But we have some people in the pipeline that will join us over the course of the season."
While there have been positive changes, there have also been some growing pains this winter too – for Renault heads in to 2017 without team principal Fred Vasseur.
The Frenchman quit his job last month after feeling that differences of opinion with other members of the management team meant his position was untenable.
Abiteboul does not deny that Vasseur's departure was a personal blow, but he does not feel the outfit will be especially weakened.
"It is clearly a personal and individual disappointment," he explains. "Part of what I did for Renault, when we decided to assess the possibility of the return with a works team, was to put forward a management structure, and Fred was very much part of that equation.
"So it is a clear disappointment for me that I could not make it work. As it was obvious that we could not make it work, it is better to have a decision and then move on.
"But we are steady, we are strong, and we have a wealth of experience. We have a revised management structure in Viry, we have a stronger management structure now in place in Enstone with more capacity with all the people we have recruited and we will keep on recruiting.
"So I feel disappointed and I feel a little bit lonely – because it was good to have a team-mate to share the pain, to share the difficulties. But I am not alone. Jerome [Stoll] is still very much involved in his capacity as chairman of the team, and I feel the team is very strong.
"We are not stupid. We looked at some of the comments that were made over the course of the season that we had a structure that was looking a bit too complex to the outside – but frankly I continue to believe that it was not that complex compared to other setups.
"However, we are taking the occasion of that decision to make it simpler and we will see how it works."
While there remains uncertainty about where any team will be this year in the wake of the 2017 rules shake-up, Abiteboul feels that the season ahead will be one where his team does make gains.
He has long been clear that Renault's F1 project is a long-term plan (remember it only talked of regular podiums by 2018) and that earlier success was not necessary.
For now, there is no illusion that it can take on the big money teams like Red Bull, Ferrari and Mercedes – but it can make the first steps to get there.
"I am not going to deny the fact that there is a difference of funding between those top teams and our team, but our team is really in the middle," he said, when asked if Renault had the budget to match the rapid development progress that is likely to feature this year.
"We will have better funding than all the others apart from the three top teams, and then McLaren to me is a bit of an unknown: their commercial setup is not clear to me in how it operates or how it works.
"We will have the capacity to be in the race against Williams, against Force India, against Toro Rosso – so I am clear that the target is to be on par with those teams and overtake them over the course of the season.
"I think in the first part of the season we will still have a handicap of where we are coming from, despite the rest of the new regulations, but I expect our development rate will be stronger than these teams.
"When it comes to the bigger teams, our plan and the whole strategy of the five-year plan that we put together, is to kick off a virtuous circle that will give us access to extra funding and allow us to target the bigger teams in the near future."
Renault's long-term success very much depends then on its progress this year. It is time to deliver.
Posted 21 February 2017 - 15:03
Renault secures new sponsor ahead of R.S.17 launch
Renault has announced that it has secured a new partnership with Spanish insurance company MAPFRE for the upcoming Formula 1 campaign.
The brand’s logo will feature on the livery of the French manufacturer’s 2017-spec challenger, the R.S.17, which will be unveiled in London this afternoon.
“I’m very pleased that MAPFRE is making its Formula One debut with us,” Renault Sport Racign managing director Cyril Abiteboul said. “MAPFRE is targeting expansion on a global level and our F1 team is an excellent platform to reach this objective.
“It is a great brand with a solid understanding of sponsorship; it is well equipped to add value to their partnership with us. We hope to reward them in 2017 with a strong step forward in performance.
“Finally, historical affinities between Renault, F1 and Spain are once more alive thanks to this partnership.”
Technically, MAPFRE will not appear for the first time in the sport, as it already sealed a one-race sponsorship with Brawn GP for the 2009 Brazilian (see picture below).
That proved to be a clever decision with Jenson Button wrapping up that year’s title on that particular Interlagos weekend.