Renault now has an engine designed for its car – Taffin

2017 F1 season

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Renault’s RS17 car and RE17 power unit are a much better fit for each other this year according to the team’s engine technical director Remi Taffin.

Last year’s Renault was based on a design created by Lotus during 2015 while they were using Mercedes engines. However the new RS17, launched today, has benefitted from the chassis and power unit being developed for each other.

Renault RS17
“If you were able to be part of the team and look at the naked car and could evaluate the architecture, you would be able to see a lot of difference between last year’s unit and its installation and this year’s,” said Taffin.

“The power unit is made to suit the car, and this is a fundamental difference. The engine and the chassis fit together, and not like a puzzle with the RS16. The RS17 is far more homogeneous.”

As well as achieving better integration between power unit and chassis, Taffin says his team have made gains in other areas. “We’ve also worked a lot on the weight, the cooling layout for both power unit and also aerodynamic performance, and then we have targeted a further step forward in performance,” he said.

“On the power unit side we made a good step last year with achieving our targets. We now need to take another step.”

With engines having to last five races this year, Taffin says Renault has scheduled its planned upgrades around when the engines are due to be changed.

“We have the normal cycle,” he said, “you have to achieve reliability with the first engines.”

“We test the race-spec engines in Barcelona and this is where we see if the development work done on the bench equates to real world performance and reliability.”

“Since everything is new this year, engine, fuel and lubricant development will progress through the season, and we will target our upgrades to our allowed power unit replacement schedule through the season.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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17 comments on “Renault now has an engine designed for its car – Taffin”

  1. Looks solid, the sidepods look alot like STR’s. I feel the PU is going to be even more “fitter” for RB’s car.

  2. So far I don’t see any huge difference for 2017 cars.

  3. As a Team Enstone fan, it has been difficult for me to watch the team seemingly floundering near the back of the grid for what seems like an absolute age. I know the car hasn’t raced yet and we’ll just have to wait to see what happens in Australia, but Taffin’s comments here are encouraging indeed. The car itself looks like an absolute beast (the old chassis regulations look so terrible now),and with two highly rated drivers on beard, I can’t wait to see what the new season brings.

    1. One highly rated driver on board.

  4. Very important year for Renault. Been talking up their new engine and team improvements all through winter, and their ambitions were to be fighting for wins as soon as next year. This year needs to be a step up to at least regular points finishes, anything less would be unexpected.

  5. Just curious, what is the cost of a complete power unit?

    1. Depends on whether or how you includ R&D costs.

      1. “Depends on whether or how you includ RB costs.”

        Fixed :)

  6. I think it’s about time we stopped using that image to represent the current engines, as it is the original 1st season engine with the wrong exhaust/turbocharger layout to be competitive, if they haven’t adopted the MB-AMG layout by now they will never catch up.

    1. I’m sure they can reach Mercedes’ power output with the same layout. The major problem of Renault’s PU is not ICU layout but electrical energy harvesting and deploying. From telemetry data you can see where they lose the most. That kind of problem can be solved by new approach in MGU-H design without touching the engine layout at all.

      1. @boomerang, A “new approach in MGU-H design” will require a new exhaust/turbocharger layout, which was my point.

        1. I think both of us have different viewpoints of the topic. I’ll explain mine. In the season of 2015. you’ve probably heard the term clipping that struck Renault’s PU. It was a result of wrong approach in MGU-H design and I discussed it on this blog at the time. According to Bob’s words it is very likely they’ve changed layout of the whole unit to improve packaging and I consider Mercedes’ layout to be the benchmark. However, the limitations of previous design forced them to learn a lot more than Mercedes. The most reliable PU with inferior approach was the result! Much better reliability compared to Merc. What will happen when they apply that knowledge on better design? We’ll see. Vijay Mallya said that Renault should eat their words regarding new PU. I hope they’ll eat Mercedes. If they don’t do it for breakfast, I hope they’ll do it for lunch. If not for lunch then for supper :-)

    2. Well according to you Renault are screwed as they have not adopted Mercs layout for their brand new engine this year.

      1. Indeed from memory they said they looked into it but went for another approach. Time will tell us if this is bold and clever or bold and stupid ;)

      2. @homerlovesbeer, I wouldn’t bet the farm on that picture representing the new Renault engine if I were you, let’s wait and see if any up to date pics get published.

    3. I agree. If this picture is of the actual engine and MGU-H components for the current season then I am sure there will be a lot of consternation at Red Bull Racing and STR. While there seems to be only a small benefit in performance in separating the input turbine and hoses from the exhaust turbine and pipes, or small benefits in reducing the length of the input turbine to intercooler hoses, or small benefits in having a clutch system inside the MGU-H, F1 is an industry where small benefits are the key to winning. I really hope Renault powered cars top the pre-season testing at Barcelona.
      I will be very interested to see what the Honda power unit for this season looks like. They might have some more customers in 2018.

      1. No need to worry, this pic is three years old. At least.

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