Renault promise groundbreaking 2017 engine

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In the round-up: Renault say their all-new engine for 2017 will feature technologies not previously seen in F1.

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44 comments on “Renault promise groundbreaking 2017 engine”

  1. Renault, who fundamentally screwed up the new formula at their first attempt, now tell us they’re going to make a groundbreaking 2017 engine?

    I can only assume they mean it’ll be groundbreakingly slow and unreliable. Twin DNFs on the formation lap at every grand prix and an engine change per session all year long? That’d be the smart money.

    1. Engine formula is not new, it is a continuation from this year. Besides, they are also working with Illmor, so their claim is credible for me. This is exciting:)

      1. I didn’t say the engine formula was new now, I said that a couple of years ago when it *was* new, Renault royally screwed the pooch and went from being among the best engines on the grid to arguably the worst, overnight.

    2. Fudge Kobayashi (@)
      28th December 2016, 10:06

      You’re thinking of H O N D A mate.

      1. No, I’m thinking of Renault, mate.

        Honda stumbling was hardly surprising. They’d barely participated in the sport for a decade, and even if you go back a full two decades their only real experience was the spectacularly unsuccessful BAR team, and the only slightly more successful Honda Racing team which it morphed into. And what little success both teams had managed between them was almost entirely on the shoulders of one driver — Jenson Button — suggesting that it had more to do with the driver than the car. BAR and Honda Racing together built a reputation for failing to finish races. The smart money was on them failing in 2015-16, and that they did so was entirely expected.

        Renault, by contrast, had a full ten years of experience as a constructor in the last decade, along with two championships and two WCC third places. And as an engine supplier and/or constructor together, Renault had been around in F1 continuously for all but five seasons going all the way back to 1977, winning a whopping 168 races and twelve constructors championships. This was a company with huge experience and a winning record, and one which had been the winning engine supplier for the previous four years straight — and yet overnight, they tanked.

        Renault engines went from winning almost everything to an average of just two wins per year, an average finish of third in the championship for their best team, and their other teams all languishing at the tail end of the grid. In 2014, three of the worst five performing teams were Renault-powered. In 2015 they only had two teams left, and one of those two was fourth-last. In 2016, their factory effort finished third-last, behind Honda, while their *ahem* TAG Heuer-branded unit took second place largely due to lower attrition than Ferrari, and a single fluke race win after the Mercs destroyed their own races. And without Red Bull, whose car flattered its engine significantly, Renault would’ve been looking even more sickly.

        So yes, assuredly I meant Renault and not Honda. Honda’s failures have been fully expected. Renault’s failures were by far the more shocking.

        1. @knoxploration

          They’d barely participated in the sport for a decade, and even if you go back a full two decades their only real experience was the spectacularly unsuccessful BAR team, and the only slightly more successful Honda Racing team which it morphed into. And what little success both teams had managed between them was almost entirely on the shoulders of one driver — Jenson Button — suggesting that it had more to do with the driver than the car.

          You realise Honda as a constructor where out of the sport for just 7 years, not a decade, and that the car they developed for 2009 won the WDC that year for Button under the Brawn team name with a hastily shoehorned in merc pu, and that team is now the Merc team?

          Honda engines won:
          72 GP’s
          5 WDC’s
          6 WCC’s

          Your attack on Renault fits the description of Honda much better.

          1. @Chris: And you realize that the Brawn car only won eight races out of 17, six of them coming in the first seven races. All the wins were due to the double diffuser, which only three teams had at the start of the season and which Brawn’s was by far the most effective. By the time the other teams caught up with the DD, Brawn won only two more races out of ten starts. Other than the DD, the car was unspectacular.
            The fact that the team is now Mercedes is utterly irrelevant. The engine, chassis and aero are all unrecognizable from the Brawn car.
            knoxploration’s description of both Honda and Renault’s history is relatively accurate, notwithstanding his estimate of a “decade” for Honda actually only being seven years. His attributing the Brawn car’s WDC to Jenson’s skill is more dubious. The double-diffuser was the development of the year, and either a stroke of Brawn genius or more likely, the stupidity of the other teams on the development committee for that year. Brawn told them about the loophole in the regs before the season started, and they ignored it/him. As noted, once the other teams developed a working DD, Brawn won only two races out of ten. If Jenson had been the reason the car won, he would have continued to win in the second half of the season.
            And none of this excuses Honda’s woeful showing. Their engine was, and continues to be, embarrassing for such a manufacturer. But Renault’s collapse was far more unexpected.

    3. The problem with Renault the first time was that htey did not start early enough and did not get support from their partner (RBR) to invest a large enough amount of money into the project either.

      This time, I presume that they will have learnt from past mistakes made in development, and will spend the money to do the work

      1. I agree that they didn’t start early enough, but keep in mind that RBR are a customer (they pay full wack for their engines) not a partner in development .. wan’t it RBR that bought Ilmor on board, who’s initial ideas where dismissed by Renault … until this year

  2. Extra cylinders?

    1. @skrabble An 8 cylinder v6 might be a stretch…

      How about a 7 or 9cyl v6 instead?

  3. Better be groundbreaking than carbreaking…

  4. I would fear Renault a lot more if they were still Red Bull’s works team.

  5. I wonder if it’s the rumoured Ilmor single cylinder engine. Sounds like it the way Abiteboul’s talking it up as a whole new concept never seen at the track before. I remember reading they had a breakthrough with it and Renault brought Ilmor back late last year which was part of the relationship with Red Bull rekindling.

    This talk of not focusing on performance immediately is a bit of a dampener in the Red Bull hopes for next year though.

    1. I doubt it, I think the rules state the engines must be a V6.

      1. Noddy, just to clarify, when he refers to the single cylinder, that would be a bench test unit that Ilmor produced as a proof of concept.

        Normally, when a manufacturer starts producing a new engine, they will produce a single cylinder section first of all as a test unit to troubleshoot any initial teething issues and to test initial concepts – once that benchmark has been established, they will then move onto producing a full V6 engine.

    2. Last mention of it resulted in this article

      1. But I think things have changed since then

  6. Oh dear,

    Renault already saying next year’s engine will not be all hat impressive and that everyone will need to wait for the “improved ” (i.e less crappy) one.

    Didn’t we hear that in 2015? The less crap engine failed to materialise at all and th Renault powered teams endured a horrid season.

    Please let’s not have another season over after the first testing session like we’ve had since 2014.

    1. Getting rid of the token system does change the situation, doesn’t it?

      1. A little, but not much unless we also get rid of homologation and lifecycle management.

  7. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
    28th December 2016, 8:46

    Slightly concerning that the existing power unit had reached it’s ‘development ceiling’ but it’s great to hear that Renault are pioneering new ideas again, something that was always traditionally a strength of Renault. It seems Ilmor are supporting them well, I just hope Red Bull aren’t already out of the title race before they can crank this thing up!

  8. Is it this year that the engine token concept is being dropped? Then the only limitations are the technical regulations and the customer cost cap.

    If so (not sure if it was 2017 or 2018) then we could see an awful lot of engine innovation on the grid as the manufacturers won’t be worried about making a loss if their engine can get to the front.

    1. Yep, token system has been scrapped for 2017 so I’d expect all manufacturers to introduce brand new concepts next year, not just Renault.

      My uncle works closely with the british based teams around Milton Keynes / Luton and was very excited about something Mercedes HPP were working on, describing it as ground breaking and game changing – if they can perfect it.

      1. I really hope that Mercedes doesn’t come up with another ground breaking PU again. I don’t think I could handle another era of Mercedes domination.. especially with the exciting Lewis vs Bottas rivalry

    2. @graham228221, yes, in 2017 the engine token system is due to be withdrawn.

      However, as a partial check on spending, I believe that there is still the caveat that updates can only be introduced when a new power unit component is used.

      After all, in 2017 the teams will now have their engine allocation reduced from five for the season (which applied when the calendar was over 20 races in length) to four, irrespective of the length of the calendar.

      Furthermore, because of complaints in 2016 about drivers stockpiling engine components, the FIA has now made changes that mean drivers will not be able to stockpile components for use later in the season without incurring a penalty.

      That does mean that the teams cannot be too reckless with their engine development work – as the engines will need to now last for five race weekends each, the teams will have to balance up the potential benefit of engine upgrades against the pain of potential grid penalties later in the season if they burn through their allocation too quickly.

      1. @anon Love your inciteful input. I’m reminded of how relatively little a penalty meant to Mercedes as the dominant team and in spite of the difficulty in passing, at least with the previous format they have just shed wrt tires and car dimensions. It’s fascinating as always to think of what teams have, and/or perhaps for a time have had on the drawing board, some of which is no doubt beyond what they can immediately implement due to certain ‘baby steps’ needing to be taken. Tokens are gone but budgets are being monitored and considered for health of the sport even if capping is difficult to implement, and while reliability remains paramount more than ever. It takes tons of spending to do the groundwork to be the best, yet avoid building too many engines, which has been meant to ‘save’ money and keep a more level playing field as much as possible.

  9. Fudge Kobayashi (@)
    28th December 2016, 10:16

    I’m optimistic that Renault will produce a good engine next year. They have been the only engine to keep Mercedes consistently honest (via RedBull) and abolishing the token system means that they can make those strides that much earlier in the season, fingers crossed.

    1. What about the 2015 Ferrari?

    2. Keep in mind that Renault used 11 of 32 tokens last year, I don’t think it was the token system holding them back … more a initial “lacking” design, and the desire for an entire new engine for 2017

  10. Looks like Team Enstone have hired Luca di Montezemolo

    1. If they hired Luca, they’d be making claims about fighting for the title as people get axed left and right.

  11. A lot of negativity here, but how about talking about what this new technology could be. I suspect it is variable compression technology which Mercedes may already be running, and like Mercedes, spark plug not used for when engine running at high compression around 1:15 or maybe more soon. Maybe Renault have built something that can run completely with out spark plugs, just compression ignition, this would make fuel technology even more important than it is now.

    1. Fascinating. Also though, there’s what they can do, and then there’s what will be allowed in the regs and what is best for the sport overall. Really exciting stuff.

      1. @robbie I remember reading about many no-spark engines in smaller devices like lawn mowers and stuff, but I think 2 years ago Hyundai had an engine concept apparently running without spark.

      2. @robbie, firstly, thank you for your kind comments above – even if there may be occasions where we have sometimes respectfully disagreed, I am glad that you have found my posts to be of interest to you.

        @beejis60, yes, back in 2013 Hyundai did reveal details of a petrol engine which was intended to operate based on compression ignition rather than spark ignition, which would fall in the category of Homogenous Charge Compression Ignition (HCCI) engines.

        As far as I am aware, their particular design is still going through pre-production testing and most of their upcoming new engine designs that are going into production are more likely to be variable compression designs (IIRC, they will be similar in principle to Aktinson engines).

        There are a number of manufacturers who have been working on HCCI engines for some time now – Mercedes are one, having developed a prototype engine known as the DiesOtto concept, whilst General Motors and Volkswagen have also revealed prototype HCCI designs.

        As things stand, though, one of the main issues has been controlling the autoignition of the fuel over a wide range of ambient conditions and variable engine loading scenarios, whilst maintaining acceptable levels of hydrocarbon and carbon monoxide emissions have sometimes been difficult (there can be occasional issues with incomplete combustion across the whole of the fuel-air mixture within the chamber).

  12. Finally Renault are making some sense. They have learned from their failure at the start of 2015 by taking too many risks and failing both performance- and reliability-wise. In 2017 they are launching an all new concept, worst thing they could do is push it to its limits too early. Looks like they actually have a solid plan in place, proving the concept and reliability first before pushing for ultimate performance. I expect this is fine for Red Bull as well. PU failures throughout pre-season testing and early in the season could ruin their car development.

  13. I don’t actually read it that way.

    They’ve said that the 2017 PU will start as a platform they can “develop” and introduce their new concepts to, not that they’re starting with them at a base level.

    Smoke and mirrors maybe for “we’re a long way behind and won’t be bringing in a new PU at the start”

  14. the only way Renault and Honda catch up are if Ferrari and Merc put restrictors on their turbos or promise to detune/run less aggressive engine modes.

    in a truly competitive environment, under the current rules, Renault leaves F1 in 1-2 years because they are a failure, and their leadership is arrogant and full of it. But, hey, if Merc can afford to let their #1 drop to the back of the grid enough times, anything is possible in F1, as long as it’s approved.

  15. Boom, imagine, Renault do it… Que Red Bull dominance… And F1 will be diffrent yet the same again.

  16. We have never seen a radial engine in F1, so that could be it!

    1. Honda’s design is pretty radical. With it’s axial compressors used from Jet engine technology. The problem is that Honda’s engine is as rubbish as it is radical.

  17. Saddly all inovation is limited in F1… Sparkless engine? Not allowed. Different configurations? Not allowed. Different engine designs like say rotary engine? Not allowed either.

    Hybrid power should be unlimited… As should be harvesting. Engine layout open. Only limit 100kg of petrol per hour flow. I see new engine regs come soon, especially if mercedes dominates again.

    1. Rotary engine will be the worst engine ever for F1 even if it was allowed because it consumes too much fuel.
      Even if there was no fuel limit the cars with a rotary will be heavy as hell at the start of the race from all the extra gallons of fuel they will be carrying.

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