The French constructor and engine manufacturer Renault is working on a brand new V6 engine for 2019 F1 season after realizing that the current design doesn’t have potential to finally catch Mercedes and Ferrari.
From the first year of the new engine rules in 2014, Renault is lagging behind the leading Mercedes in terms of power and reliability, and when in 2016 they reduced the gap to the acceptable 50 HP, it was expected that in 2017 and 2018 they would shrink the gap even more.
But due to the exceptional development of the leading engines of the Mercedes and Ferrari, Renault has failed to reduce the gap that may become even bigger in qualifying and due to the efforts to capture the leading doubles reliability was not even close to the expected level.
After five years of frustration with Renault’s power units, which could not follow their championship ambitions, Red Bull decided to turn to Honda, which will be entirely dedicated to Red Bull and Toro Rosso, while Renault will continue to develop its engines with its factory team and McLaren.
“This is a completely new engine,” commented Cyril Abiteboul the new Renault F1 engine for 2019.
“One of the reasons is that we will not be limited by the structural constraints of the current engine, which is why the C-specification does not provide more performance.”
Renault presented the C-spec in Monza, where it was only used by Red Bull, and in qualifying it brings 20 HP. But due to questionable reliability, Renault and McLaren did not decide to use it while Red Bull had to take more copies of the B-specification to “survive” the demanding races in Mexico and Brazil that are held at high altitude.
In an effort to reduce the gap of Mercedes and Ferrari, Renault is turning to the new concept of the engine for 2019.
“More or less, the whole engine will be new, not just the ERS side [MGU-K, MGU-H and batteries], but the rest of the internal combustion engine.”
“So we have to be careful and disciplined in planning so that we do not find ourselves in a difficult situation at the beginning of the season.”
MGU-K and turbo Renault’s biggest issues in F1 2018
This season, Renault finally introduced a new MGU-K specification that is more reliable and 7 kg lighter and manufactured by Renault, not Magneti Marelli, as was the case with the previous model.
But the new MGU-K was not used in Red Bull and McLaren due to changes in the car that needed to be made in order to be able to use it.
“This year we had two problematic parts, the MGU-K and the turbo. The new MGU-K, which we use, has no problem at all, and the last specification of the turbo also seems to be fine. But they are not on all the cars as new parts mean new penalties. ”
“We spend money to improve the parts, we test them on a dynamometer, and we can not put them on the track. It’s crazy, but anyway, these two problems have been resolved.”
Renault shocked with engine development pace
Since the rules are stable from 2014 and that every year the engines and other components have to last longer and longer, it is expected that progress will be smaller and smaller each season.
But that did not happen, which shocked Renault.
“One thing that shocked me is that we absolutely do not see the stagnation of the development curve. That’s incredible.”