Ricciardo’s new engine only goes to 7, not 11

When Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo was looking for that little extra push over the cliff as most blokes are playing at 10, he couldn’t turn his up to 11. That’s because Renault gave him an engine that only goes to 7.

Renault Sport F1 had asked the FIA to allow for 11 token spends on a new power unit upgrade and many of thought that they entered the Brazilian Grand Prix with an upgraded power unit sporting 11 robust tokens of genius engineering capital but that isn’t the case as AUTOSPORT found out.

It seems that while Daniel Ricciardo suffered a 10-place grid penalty for the change in engines to the new upgraded lump, he was not very complimentary of its performance as compared to the old power unit. There is, perhaps, a reason for that as Renault only spent seven (7) tokens and not the 11 many were assuming had been spent.

The ever resourceful Lawrence Barretto at AUTOSPORT ferreted it out and determined that the seven tokens were used on the internal combustion engine (ICE) and the remaining four are focused on the turbo but due to parts availability and an incompatibility with the exhaust, they couldn’t release these for Brazil.

As the article rightly points out, the tough decision is that Renault would like to run the new parts in Abu Dhabi but it would require Red Bull to take yet another grid penalty and the jury is out on that decision at this point.

If Red Bull are truly going to try and run a white label version of the Renault or a re-badged version called Infinti, then they may elect to take the penalty to get some track time on the new power unit upgrade so they have a better idea of what they will be dealing with in 2016.

It still hasn’t been revealed what the team will do in 2016 but an article by Mr. Sylt at the Telegraph did have one key phrase that I thought could be at least some insight to what the team are thinking with regards to the 2016 season when team boss Christian Horner said:

“ultimate parent undertaking, Red Bull GmbH, confirmed to the directors that it has no plans or intentions that would materially affect the ordinary operations of the company within the next 12 months”

While these are date-stamped financial statements, they do at least lend credence to the fact that Red Bull have every intention of continuing into the 2016 season and while we may all know that, it is important that the financial statements reflect a commitment from the executive board.

It’s also an interesting article to see how much the team spend in trying to recover lost ground and one would assume that if they are going ahead with a Renault Sport F1 white label engine for 2016, they would like to see all of the latest components in play in Abu Dhabi to get a measure of what they will be dealing with. On the other hand, testing will shake that out as well.

Hat Tip: AUTOSPORT and Telegraph

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Patrick Chapman

I was hoping that the 7 token upgrade would at least have given Ricciardo an advantage over Kvyat ao I was both surprised and disappointed that Kvyat beat him in Brazil with the old spec engine. I am now hoping that the last 4 tokens will make a big difference in performance. I am such an optimist, sigh.


Don’t beat yourself up too much .. you’re just poor at pattern recognition! ;-)

Patrick Chapman

You are quite right John. According to Albert Einsteins definition of insanity, I am actually completely crazy. I keep seeing and doing the same things over and over again expecting a different result. He calls it insane, I call it hope, and he obviously had no exposure to the modern day computer.


So have Renault made a mistake with the dimensions used on their drawings, is that why they are down on power?


Both block and cylinder head does probably have severe design errors that is just holding their power back. I am sure that the Renault engine can deliver more power, but it cannot handle it because of structural weakness

Patrick Chapman

Also bear in mind that the 2015 rules only permitted certain area’s of the PU to be changed/modified/upgraded which severely limited the potential for performance improvements. eg The crankshaft, Turbocharger and the MGU-H and valve train were not allowed to be changed. The cylinder head/combustion chamber design was allowed to be redesigned using their tokens. You may remember that this is what Mercedes changed to accomodate the new fuel from Petronas. These rules also had placed a severe limit on Honda’s improvement potential as they identified their main problem as the Turbo, MGU-H combination and of course they weren’t allowed… Read more »


To be fair, Tommy Mac pointed this out before the race in the comments here:
FBC readers ahead of the game as usual.

Negative Camber

I’m old, MIE, I forget things easily. :)


I’m wondering if this “upgrade” wasn’t designed to fit in the RedBull chassis at all, but rather next years Lotus/Renault. Renault might be using these last two races to get some race hours on there own engine spec for next year.


Can somebody please explain why the Renault white label idea would be the preferred method for anyone?

Everybody knows its still a Renault engine so surely any blame aimed at the power unit side will still ultimately be to renault, even if they are not named directly?

For red bull they are getting the same engine they are trying to get away from albeit potentially allowed to modify after the fact but thats not exactly an easy task?