Renault pushes for equalization
Red Bull Racing team principal Christian Horner has made a fresh plea to try and get engine performance equalized for next season, with his team now set to remain with Renault for 2011.
Horner has made no secret of the fact that he believes the Renault is down on power compared to the benchmark Mercedes-Benz – even though his unit may have advantages in terms of weight, drivability and fuel consumption.
A push last season to make all engines equal did not result in any action being taken, and Horner is now eager for the matter to be looked at again - especially as he believes the importance of power will become more important as rival outfits close in on the chassis advantage that Red Bull currently enjoys.
"I think if you look at basic studies you would say we are about three per cent down on power - which is probably about 30-35hp," said Horner. "That is as much as four tenths per lap, but until you run all the engines in the same conditions on a dyno and do a fair and proper comparison you can never be sure.
"You often hear Ross Brawn talk about weight distribution, or the center-of-gravity and cooling efficiency so on, and the more power you have the more heat you generate. But you need to look at all the aspects in a collective format. The most important thing moving forward is that chassis will for sure converge, as there is freedom within the regulations, and that is where the engines will become a bigger factor."
He added: "It is getting a bit boring. Through the regulations, there is nothing that specifically deals with engine equality, and that is the problem. I think it is acknowledged that there are differences and there is a format that was agreed last winter to evaluate the engines, which was agreed upon by all the manufacturers, but some of the teams stopped that from happening. We are back in to that situation."
Last season Red Bull Racing chased a deal with Mercedes-Benz hard for 2010, but that move was scuppered when the plans were blocked by McLaren – which had a veto right over Mercedes-Benz expanding its customer supply platform. With Mercedes-Benz having said recently that it did not plan to provide an extra team with engines for next year, Red Bull Racing looks set to agree terms with Renault for at least one more season.
"In terms of supply, we are very happy with the relationship we have with Renault," explained Horner. "They treat us very well, and we have a very good partnership with Renault. Unfortunately the product, due to the homologation, is frozen and therefore you have a performance freeze.
"Mercedes have made it transparently clear that they will not be supplying any additional teams for next year- so we rely on the FIA and the teams and manufacturers to create a healthy situation. It is not healthy to have a situation where one engine is significantly ahead of the rest."
When asked to respond to suggestions that although the Renault may be down on power, it does have advantages in other area, Horner said: "The Renault engine is a tidy engine; it is a good engine, as is the Ferrari. But I think horsepower is such an over-riding element that that would come at the top - you would trade any of those aspects for horsepower.
"In terms of fuel consumption, when you have less horsepower you burn less fuel as you generate less temperature. But if you take more horsepower and you run conservatively, you can end up at the same point, but you've got it for when you need it. It is a key element, absolutely."