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Renault teams may adopt 'four engine' approach

  • Published on 07 Mar 2018 12:20
  • comments 9
  • By: Rob Veenstra

Renault-powered teams are considering using four engines per driver instead of just three in 2018. The rules have changed over the winter, meaning drivers will be penalised if they use more than three power units across the long 21-race season.

But Auto Motor und Sport reports that Renault may advise its teams to plan to use four engines instead, thereby voluntarily taking a penalty at some point. "Because the engine life is longer, it slows down the development," said boss Cyril Abiteboul.

What he means is that, in theory, a driver will use the same engine for 7 races until it is changed. But by using four engines, Renault can introduce more developments. "The balance between reliability and development for more power is incredibly hard to find," Abiteboul added.

Renault customer Red Bull sounds keen on Renault's four-engine plan. "If you strategically plan the penalties, you will not lose so much," said Dr Helmut Marko. "We started from the back in Monza last year and finished fourth," he added. Designer Adrian Newey agrees: "If you're a racer, you'd plan with four engines. Because the benefits are greater than the disadvantages."

And McLaren boss Eric Boullier said: "We will do what is best for us. First of all we will see where we are and then decide, but the question of three or four engines is definitely up for debate."

It seems that Mercedes and Ferrari will not adopt the same four-engine approach. "A penalty means you lose a race and that can cost you the title," said engine boss Andy Cowell. (GMM)

Replies (9)

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  • That is a brave approach, if managed right can prove very very rewarding. Only worth doing if you can really pull out some big improvements. So many times teams and engine makers have tried bringing major updates only to find lack of correlation to what was seen at the factory.

    • + 0
    • Mar 7 2018 - 13:08
  • I think more than just the Renault teams will have to do that. This is why its such an amazingly stupid decision to allow only 3 allocations per driver... Its incomprehensible.

    • + 2
    • Mar 7 2018 - 17:20
    • Kean

      Posts: 692

      Correct me if I'm wrong here, but 21 races 3 PU's = 7 races per PU. If you use 5 PU's instead then that would mean one PU will need to survive 5 races and 4 PU's for 4 races. But you'll have to sacrifice 2 races in order to use 5 PU's, but you'll be able to push that much harder on the material for 19 races. I'd say, for a team like Toro Rosso, it is well worth it especially since that means two more times during the seasons where you can introduce updates to the PU.

      • + 0
      • Mar 7 2018 - 20:15
    • It could be, but its all down to strategy. And then imagine having taken penalties four a fourth or fifth unit, only to get taken out in an incident that destroys your PU, and you have to take another unit.

      • + 1
      • Mar 7 2018 - 20:37
    • Pauli

      Posts: 140

      It depends. Grid penalties cost much more for top 3 teams than others. So even Renault powered it might be different for RB and others. Top 3 would lose around 10 points per race with penalties while gains from unforced engine changes are questionable if it produces enough advantages. Specially when top engines are likely to have very little performance lose to make them last 7 races instead of 5 races.

      But of course extra engine helps for accidents that destroy PUs because parts that are not any more in race use are still usable and are used in practice session. Now if you have PU failure or accident you can switch back to old engine parts that still work but have some wear.

      • + 2
      • Mar 7 2018 - 22:05
  • f1dave

    Posts: 782

    Every team will use more than three engines. Stupid rule. If t he limit is three engines then don't give penalties just make it three engines and your out for the season. See how many teams would even stay in F1. Stupid rule.

    • + 1
    • Mar 7 2018 - 17:29
    • Its incomprehensibly stupid!

      • + 0
      • Mar 8 2018 - 06:47
  • "It seems that Mercedes and Ferrari will not adopt the same four-engine approach. "
    - - >
    "It seems that Mercedes and Ferrari will not blabbermouth about a four-engine approach."
    There. Fixed it for you.
    Of course they are also considering it in their contingency planning. Especially Mercedes. Because that kind of multilateral thinking is what got them in the dominant position they have today.

    • + 0
    • Mar 8 2018 - 07:17
    • I very much agree. There is far more to Mercedes than just the best engine, heck even the best car. If it was just that, Ferrari and Red Bull would've eaten them for breakfast.

      • + 0
      • Mar 8 2018 - 16:53

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