Renault says its new engine will bring a significant upgrade in power at the cost of being less reliable. Renault will have the 'spec C' engine available to them at this weekend's Italian Grand Prix, however Red Bull is the only team scheduled to run it.
Daniel Ricciardo will have the engine fitted to his car for Friday which will result in a grid penalty. Red Bull has said that it will study the information on Friday and then decide whether or not Max Verstappen will also use it for the rest of the weekend.
Remi Taffin, the team’s engine technical director, described the 'Spec C' engine as "an evolution of the current B Spec engine” which is “significantly more powerful” than its predecessor.
"Conversely, it’s possibly not as reliable as the current generation, hence the different choices made by each team," he added. "Depending on fuel used, the power gain is in the order of 0.3s per lap in qualifying on a circuit like Monza, which is a substantial step forward.”
When asked why only Red Bull is set to have the first use, Taffin said: "Because they are in a position to prioritise performance without having to worry about those behind them in the championship. For our part and McLaren, we will not be using this specification, because reliability and consistency are the essential assets to reach our end-of-season goals.”
However, the current specification of MGU-K is only being used by Renault: “McLaren and Red Bull Racing did not want to make the needed changes for its integration,” said Taffin. “They have opted to take and assume this clearly identified reliability risk.”
Bahrain International Circuit - Winter testing