Renault engine upgrade in Spain

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After a great run from Renault and driver Kevin Magnussen in Russia, the team head toward the European leg of the calendar with renewed vigor and a raft of new pieces.

We have spoken of a new iteration of power unit for Red Bull Racing in Canada this year when the re-badged Renault, now called a TAG, will see a major upgrade but Renault certainly aren’t waiting to upgrade their engine as Nick Chester reveals:

Q&A with Nick Chester


Renault Sport Formula One Team Chassis Technical Director Nick Chester talks Russia, new bits and predicts what could be in store for Barcelona.

Was there a revolution in the team’s performance in Russia?

In China there were a lot of factors that worked against us and in contrast, in Russia there were a lot of factors that were beneficial to us. It illustrated the importance of having a completely straightforward weekend with no issues to deal with – whether in the practice sessions or in the race. Getting all the data from practice is important: we did that in Russia so our engineers were better placed to make the best set-up calls. On top of that we were able to show decent race pace and capitalise on the events around us in the race and get a strong result. Kevin drove a brilliant race with other cars breathing down his neck; he did everything he could and seventh was the result. On the other side of the garage, Jolyon was much happier with his car so we’re in a good place heading to Spain.

What elements would you add to the post-race debrief?

The Sochi Autodrom is unusual in the respect that it’s tricky for tyres. Getting the tyres into the correct temperature operating window is a particular challenge and we saw all teams paying particular attention to this over the weekend. In qualifying there are some approaches used like a fast-slow-fast sequence of laps to try to get both front and rear tyres in the correct working window. We made good progress in this regard. Then for the race it was a real positive to see a Melbourne-level of race pace return.

Jolyon seems to have made good progress with getting his car back to where it should be?

Jolyon was much happier in his car on Saturday in Sochi and this translated to a stronger performance over the weekend. As part of our assessments to get his car to work better for him we changed the floor, which is a very important aerodynamic aspect of the car. This looks to have delivered what we wanted so a positive step was made. For Spain Jolyon will run with a new chassis – R.S.16-03 which we used at our filming day this week to shake down.

What else do we have new for Barcelona?

For the race we have an updated rear wing as well as some updates for the front wing. For the test we have a full raft of things to try; new suspension, further aero updates over various areas of the car, some mods to cooling as well as evaluating the B-spec power unit, so we should have a full two days.

Is Barcelona likely to be cruel or kind to the team?

We fared decently in relative terms at pre-season testing there and when you look at the qualities required for a handy car around the circuit there are no initial fears from our side. That’s not to say we wouldn’t welcome some more downforce, but there’s potential as we currently stand.


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jiji the cat

hope they make a step forward. I also hope palmer makes a step forward, starting to think he may end up a journey man like his dad.

I’d love it if blue paint was part of their upgrades.


I’ll bet Renault will want to show Red Bull that the updates will make their Power Unit competitive with the Mercedes and Ferrari units.
Just to make a point to RBR TAG, and justify their investment in F1.
And while I agree with jiji that French racing blue would look cool, I’m really enjoying the matt yellow currently being used – either way I’m happy if they can go quicker ;-)


Slightly misleading headline. Upgrade will still come in Canada. They are just trying it out in the 2 day test.


The timing of the upgrades needs to match when they are planning to change the power unit (on average each PU has to last more than four race weekends, so after Barcelona would be appropriate). Otherwise they will guarantee that they will have to take a grid penalty before the end of the season (like Ferrari have already).


When an upgrade is introduced, is the new spec the only one that can be used? So they couldn’t stick the old spec P.U back in if they were running out of components, or if the upgrade wasn’t delivering an improvement?


The old components are available for use later in the season, but they would produce less power than the upgraded parts, otherwise why change them?


Thanks Dave. I’d imagine that a lack of reliability might be a reason to switch back, but that technical decision making in F1 is never straightforward.


I would expect that the performance (and reliability) of the updated component to have been demonstrated on the dyno before it ever gets fitted to the car in a race.

sunny stivala

you can be assured that they are validated on the dyno.

sunny stivala

no, once a token performance upgraded ICE is introduced the ICE specification it replaced cannot be use.
That is why Mercedes had to upgrade (overnight) car 44 first ICE to their new fuel system upgrade as introduced in Sochi.


Mercedes refitted the ICE that Hamilton had used earlier in the season, to do so they need to fly in the upgraded injection system that they didn’t have available in Sochi. Presumably they didn’t have the time under parc ferme rules to take the upgraded bits off the car and refit with the needed new components (TC, MGU-H, ES and CE according to FIA Technical Report 31 issued on 1 May 2016 at 12:00), so they built the complete Power Unit up overnight (using previously used ICE and MGU-K) and swapped them over once they could start working on the… Read more »

sunny stivala

apart from “strange” things going-on, or better say “allowed” to go on in F1, there are sometimes efforts thrown-in by the powers that be so as not to spoil the show which boarders on the absolute limits of the rules. this situation is not only not helped but made the more confusing by some of the media, even by those regarded as the top ones. in Sochi Mercedes said that it introduced a non token consuming fuel upgrade, Mark Hughs to this day is saying that Mercedes spend 2 upgrade tokens in Sochi. Mercedes had 2 different specification engines in… Read more »

sunny stivala

re my post about strange things going on and confusion created. the facts are as follows. Mercedes said that they are going to introduce fuel system upgrades for Sochi that does not fall within the Token system, by saying so what they were doing was covering their ass for the fact that the spare engine they had could not be used as was, facts are they had spend 2 upgrade tokens on their fuel system, but that system upgrade did not fall within the PU UPGRADES which if it did an new PU would had to be used, they in… Read more »

sunny stivala

the answer is yes

sunny stivala

FERRARI have not taken an engine related grid penalty yet.
of interest might be visiting the following site provided you can read and or translate “ICE FERRARI: con una buona rotazione non si dovrebbe incorrere in penalita (funnanalisitechica)”.


You are correct that Ferrari have not taken a grid penalty this season for using above their allocated five power unit components. Raikkonen has used two of each of the six elements (ICE, TC, MGU-H, MGU-K, ES and CE) while Vettel has used 3 ICE and 2 of everything else. Given that the most reliable power units of this generation (the Mercedes) only managed five race weekends last year, it is unlikely that Ferrari will be able to get to the end of the season without Vettel taking a grid penalty. If they do, then they have improved their reliability… Read more »

sunny stivala

I have posted the link, I would have liked you to have managed to find it, it is all about their decision to introduce token upgrade in Sochi, the article prints a list (long one) with great detail of their intentions of how, where and at what mileage they intend to use their penalty free ICE’S left serviceable and also were and when they intend to use/introduce token upgrades, I do have the list, the problem is it is to long a list to forward on here, unless permission is given.


Unfortunately the text you posted is not a hyperlink. I tried copying the text into Google, but it didn’t find anything. I would be interested in reading the article.

sunny stivala

glad you managed something “very similar” to the link I posted, the one I posted has much more fine detail including the intended upgrades introductions, (Silverstone and Monza). “rotation of PU’S and projected KM=FP1+FP2+FP3+Q+R=700KM, ICE 2=3137KM, ICE 3 3400KM, ICE 4 3500 KM, ICE 5 3200 KM.


All that information was in the link I found. The author makes the assumption of 750km per race weekend. That is on the low side of the distance driven by Ferrari in untroubled races last season.

sunny stivala


sunny stivala

strange happening on this site, the place my above post found itself in does not make any sense, I know it marks itself as an answer to Rob (second post on this page). but still!

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x