Renault to introduce B-spec engine

Rob White, Renault F1’s Engine Technical Director has looked back over the past three events of the 2005 season where the French based squad has taken three successive victories, explaining how engine usage has changed this year as drivers are forced to use the same engine for two consecutive events.

“Overall, the way we use the engines in 2005 is an evolution of how they were used in 2004 – but the life cycle is now twice as long. The chassis and engine engineers agree how much running will be done before each weekend, and in what conditions that will be done – usually in the week running up to the event," he explained. “We then manage our program according to these decisions, and new information that arrives during the weekend: for example, we may adjust our programs to accommodate changing weather conditions. Finally, the use of the engine's «potential» – for example, the number of laps run at high revs – is managed with the aim of getting the best racing results over both events in which the engine is used."

But, does this mean engine use has become more strategic?

"It is certainly more complicated now! The first point is that the increased engine life is technically difficult to achieve, but after that, we use the engine differently in practice, qualifying and the race," Rob said. “Only three years ago, we could use a different version of the engine in each session – a ‘qualifying special' for example, optimized for a much shorter life span, and then a race spec for Sunday. Now, we must make choices on how we use a single engine, and its performance, in each of the sessions across two weekends."

Has the first races given him an opportunity to assess the performance of the RS25 relative to its competitors?

"In isolation, we were pleased with the performance of the RS25 when it first ran on the dyno – despite very late rule changes, we hit all our performance targets before the season. However, the isolated performance of the engine is not what matters – we always take a car-wide view of performance, and look at the V10 as part of the whole. This prevents us from making direct comparisons of absolute engine performance relative to the competition. But we are certainly pleased with our engine's contribution to the performance of the R25 – and with the performance of the R25-RS25 package relative to its competitors."

In an unusual twist, while Fernando Alonso took victory in Bahrain, teammate Giancarlo Fisichella suffered an engine failure early in the event. So, following this, Giancarlo may race with a ‘B' specification engine in Imola. Here Rob updates us on the status of the new engine…

"One of the purposes of the new regulations was to slow down the rate of performance development, and they have succeeded: it is now more difficult to approve new parts for introduction, and we only have a limited number of opportunities at which to introduce these parts," he said. “Our approach for 2005 will be to introduce performance developments in packages, and the ‘B' spec is the first in a series of planned evolutions, that was initially scheduled for introduction in Barcelona. Following Giancarlo's engine failure in Bahrain, we saw the opportunity to accelerate the build of a race engine to this spec to fit in his car. However, the final decision on its use will depend on dyno tests, and the detailed analysis of results from testing last week in Paul Ricard. It is important to stress that we will not be taking any short-cuts in the approval process in order to race RS25B at Imola instead of Barcelona." Renault

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