Renault 'played with fire' chasing F1 engine gains in 2017

Renault admits it "played with fire" by chasing extra performance from its 2017 Formula 1 engine through the season, at the expense of reliability

Renault 'played with fire' chasing F1 engine gains in 2017

Red Bull won three races with Renault power in 2017, but all three Renault-engined F1 teams suffered persistent unreliability.

They picked up 300 extra engine-related grid penalties compared to their Mercedes and Ferrari rivals, leading Red Bull boss Christian Horner to describe 2017 as his outfit's worst season for reliability in a decade, while sister squad Toro Rosso also fell out publicly with Renault.

Renault F1 team boss Cyril Abiteboul apologised for the poor record, but said Renault had to be "very aggressive" to avoid Ferrari and Mercedes stretching further away in the power stakes.

"Clearly, the big negative in 2017 has been reliability, which has cost a lot - to our team, but also to our customer teams, for which I feel sorry," Abiteboul told Autosport.

"But we had to be very aggressive in order to create the platform to complete the convergence with the other power unit manufacturers.

"It was a combination of a completely new engine, and therefore a lack of dyno mileage over the winter.

"We discovered some of the issues at the winter test, and also some of them at the start of the season, which was very late to react and to implement improvements.

"Later into the season, we played a little bit with the fire by unlocking new performance modes, which had some impact also on reliability, and we also had the issue that there was some cooling measures to respect that some teams struggled to follow."

Abiteboul implied Toro Rosso suffered more failures in second half of the season because it could not follow the same cooling limits as the other Renault-powered teams.

"We found new ways of operating the engine with more performance, which created the first batch of problems," he added.

"With more mileage, we started to have reliability issues related to simply the life of the parts.

"We tried to manage that by reducing the operating temperature, which some teams managed to do, but not all teams."

The works team also suffered problems, which Abiteboul said had caused Renault to miss its own target of beating Williams to fifth in the constructors' championship.

"That [un]reliability has cost us a lot - we think it has cost us something like 45 points, which is also fifth place in the championship, which was our target," Abiteboul explained.

"That's the big negative, and a negative I don't want to diminish because retiring a car, whether it's a Renault car or any car that's powered by Renault, is hugely frustrating.

"That's hurting us and our image and our reputation, so clearly [it is] something we will be improving for next year without any sort of compromise."

shares
comments
Felipe Massa ended his F1 career at the top, says Williams' Smedley

Previous article

Felipe Massa ended his F1 career at the top, says Williams' Smedley

Next article

Mercedes happy with my progress in F1 - Esteban Ocon

Mercedes happy with my progress in F1 - Esteban Ocon
Load comments
The ill-fated Italian ace rendered an outsider at Ferrari Plus

The ill-fated Italian ace rendered an outsider at Ferrari

Anointed as Italy’s next great racing hero after the tragic death of Alberto Ascari, Luigi Musso was pushed out of favour at Ferrari by Peter Collins and Mike Hawthorn. NIGEL ROEBUCK recalls a troubled soul…

Formula 1
Oct 3, 2021
The magic moments of modern racing's foremost all-rounder Plus

The magic moments of modern racing's foremost all-rounder

From Champ Car to Formula 1, NASCAR, back to IndyCar and now plying his trade in sportscars, Juan Pablo Montoya's career is remarkable for its versatility. Here, the Colombian reflects on 10 of his most significant moments along the way

Formula 1
Oct 2, 2021
Why F1’s best-sounding car flattered to deceive Plus

Why F1’s best-sounding car flattered to deceive

Matra’s MS120 married rocket technology to an engine which sputtered out far too often. STUART CODLING examines how the championship-winning constructor’s ambitious project to build car and engine under one roof came to fail

Formula 1
Oct 1, 2021
Why Perez won't be broken by his latest F1 disappointments Plus

Why Perez won't be broken by his latest F1 disappointments

It has been a tricky past few races for Sergio Perez. The Red Bull driver has mustered just 16 points since the British Grand Prix in July and the team's constructors' championship chances have taken a hit. Yet the Mexican remains optimistic that he has all the tools he needs to turn his performances around

Formula 1
Sep 30, 2021
How Sainz turned crash streak into his best Ferrari F1 weekend so far Plus

How Sainz turned crash streak into his best Ferrari F1 weekend so far

OPINION: Carlos Sainz Jr was one of the stars of the 2021 Russian Grand Prix. But he came into the weekend with a streak of recent crashes hanging over him. Here’s how the Ferrari newcomer worked to overcome those setbacks and deliver yet more success for his new team

Formula 1
Sep 29, 2021
The mid-season rule change that has left F1 teams scrambling Plus

The mid-season rule change that has left F1 teams scrambling

The technical directive issued by Formula 1 to reduce levels of automation in pitstops has given teams an unwelcome period of adjustment. Although safety was the primary goal, it has already had a significant impact on the title race and puts extra pressure on teams to deliver as the season reaches the business end

Formula 1
Sep 28, 2021
How the pandemic is continuing to bite F1 Plus

How the pandemic is continuing to bite F1

Uncertainty over the shape of the calendar doesn’t just vex the fans and the commercial rights holder. MARK GALLAGHER explains at how race promoters have been pushed to the financial brink

Formula 1
Sep 28, 2021
Hamilton at 100 wins: In his adversaries’ words Plus

Hamilton at 100 wins: In his adversaries’ words

Some 18 drivers have finished runner-up to Lewis Hamilton on his way to 100 wins. Three of those recall their battles with Formula 1’s centurion and give their personal insights into the seven-time world champion on his rise to unchartered territory

Formula 1
Sep 27, 2021