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2017 power unit behaviour will be “completely different”

12 January 2017

Renault Sport F1’s managing director, Cyril Abiteboul, believes that its 2017 power unit will behave completely differently due to the change in regulations.

Speaking at the RACE TECH magazine Tech Talk at this year’s Autosport International show, Abiteboul explained the difficulties Renault experienced as a power unit manufacturer in 2014 and 2015, including out-sourcing some of its power unit components. “The technology was so huge that we went outside to source technology from companies such as Magneti Marelli and A123 systems. One of the difficulties that we experienced at the track which was that when you source outside you don’t control.”

To overcome the issues with outsourcing the French outfit faced a difficult decision. He added: “We had no alternative than to either come back as a full team or get out completely. We decided to enter Formula 1 and go into a partnership with Infiniti, we brought all of these components that were out-sourced, in house.

“This power unit is all about the interaction between all of the components. In particular if you think about what is going to happen this year with the change in regulations, there will be much more downforce.”

With the additional downforce in 2017 the power units will be placed under a lot more loading and stress, thanks to less braking and more opportunities to use full throttle, which Abiteboul believes will see a dramatic rise in energy consumption. “The way that you recover energy and the way that the power unit is going to behave will be completely different because there will be less braking and much more throttle. If you want to be able to address this type of challenge you can only do it by having a complete control of your product.”

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