Renault says it made too big a change to F1 engine for 2017 season

Renault admits it made too big a change with its Formula 1 engine over the winter, and has paid the price with reliability struggles this season

Renault says it made too big a change to F1 engine for 2017 season

Having felt that its power unit had reached the limit of development at the end of last year, Renault embarked on a concept revamp to give itself scope to close in on the benchmark Mercedes and Ferrari engines.

But Renault was troubled by reliability headaches in the early part of the season - which forced it to revert to its 2016 MGU-K - and managing director Cyril Abiteboul said that its ambitions had been too big.

"I cannot look professional if I tell you that these were expected problems, because we don't design a new engine expecting that it's not going to work," Abiteboul told Autosport.

"The reality - and that is still frustrating - is that we are still not great at designing first time.

"Having said that, we've done an awful lot on the engine side - the ICE architecture is completely different, the ERS is completely different.

"We can challenge the decision to do that much in one winter, and frankly, I think we've done a bit too much."

Abiteboul said Renault's reliability issues had been exacerbated by "finger mistakes" while swapping out faulty components.

"When you start having some difficulty with reliability, you do some mix and match in the garage," he said.

"You take an MGU-H from one engine, a turbo from another, an MGU-K from another, and then you start to make a monster!

"That also multiplies the operation and has been very difficult for the engine guys, who also - with all the operations we have done - happen to make some finger mistakes.

"This has made the situation even worse. That's a vicious circle that is very strong and powerful.

"On the chassis side, we [the Renault works team] have also had a couple of reliability issues - the last one being Jo's [Jolyon Palmer] installation lap in Silverstone, which was unrelated to the engine. It was a power assist system, and that's a big frustration.

"I'm putting that down to the fact that it is a team that is young. We have had a lot of turnover in the mechanics, a lot of turnover at the factory.

"People are getting experience and for me lack of quality is lack of experience."

Abiteboul is confident that Renault will be in a better situation at the start of next year.

"It's nearly behind us; it's not behind us yet, but it's a year of consolidation also on the engine side," he added.

"There will be much more stability next year, and we'll be able to focus on extracting more performance from the different components that we have introduced, and hopefully in a much more reliable manner.

"Those decisions are definitely questionable, definitely a great frustration and a big area of disappointment this season."

shares
comments
Williams F1 driver Massa: F1 has not got worse since my 2002 debut
Previous article

Williams F1 driver Massa: F1 has not got worse since my 2002 debut

Next article

Kubica's road to recovery in his own words

Kubica's road to recovery in his own words
Load comments
The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback Plus

The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback

It’s easy to look at
 Robert Kubica’s second Formula 1 career and feel a sense of sadness that he didn’t reach the heights for which he seemed destined. But as BEN ANDERSON discovered, performance and results are almost meaningless in this context – something more fundamental and incredible happened…

The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver the goods for McLaren  Plus

The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver the goods for McLaren 

From being lapped by his own team-mate in Monaco to winning at Monza, it’s been a tumultuous first season at McLaren for Daniel Ricciardo. But, as he tells STUART CODLING, there’s more to the story of his turnaround than having a lovely summer holiday during Formula 1's summer break...

Formula 1
Nov 26, 2021
The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title Plus

The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title

As the battle continues to rage over the F1 2021 drivers' championship, teams up and down the grid are turning their attentions to the prize money attributed to each position in the constructors' standings. But F1's sliding scale rules governing windtunnel and CFD use will soften the blow for those who miss out on the top places

Formula 1
Nov 25, 2021
The invisible enemy that’s made Hamilton’s title charge tougher Plus

The invisible enemy that’s made Hamilton’s title charge tougher

After winning his past few Formula 1 titles at a canter, Lewis Hamilton currently trails Max Verstappen by eight points heading into the final double-header of 2021. Although Red Bull has been his biggest on-track challenge, Hamilton feels that he has just as much to grapple with away from the circuit

Formula 1
Nov 24, 2021
Why F1’s inconvenient penalties have to stay Plus

Why F1’s inconvenient penalties have to stay

OPINION: Quibbles over the length of time taken by Formula 1's stewards over decisions are entirely valid. But however inconvenient it is, there can be no questioning the importance of having clearly defined rules that everyone understands and can stick to. Recent events have shown that ambiguity could have big consequences

Formula 1
Nov 23, 2021
The mistakes Red Bull cannot afford to repeat in F1 2021’s title fight climax Plus

The mistakes Red Bull cannot afford to repeat in F1 2021’s title fight climax

OPINION: Red Bull has had Formula 1’s fastest package for most of 2021, but in several of the title run-in events it has wasted the RB16B’s potential. It cannot afford to do so again with Lewis Hamilton motoring back towards Max Verstappen in the drivers’ standings with two rounds remaining

Formula 1
Nov 23, 2021
Qatar Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Qatar Grand Prix Driver Ratings

Qatar was a virtual unknown for most as Formula 1 made its inaugural visit to the Gulf state, and tyre management quickly emerged as an even more critical factor than normal. Perhaps then it should come as no surprise that two of the championship's elder statesmen produced standout drives

Formula 1
Nov 22, 2021
How Hamilton dominated in Qatar despite missing a key Mercedes advantage Plus

How Hamilton dominated in Qatar despite missing a key Mercedes advantage

There was simply no stopping Lewis Hamilton on Formula 1's first visit to Qatar. The Mercedes driver eased to pole position and led every lap to secure an utterly dominant victory - even without a key Mercedes weapon in his arsenal to increase the heat on Red Bull heading into the final two races of the gripping 2021 title race

Formula 1
Nov 22, 2021