Renault RS18, 2018

Reliability, not performance, is biggest challenge for Renault – Bell

2018 F1 season

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Solving the reliability problems which blighted its campaign last year is the top priority for Renault in the 2018 F1 season, says chief technical officer Bob Bell.

Renault had the most race-ending technical failures of any team last year, posting 11 from a combined 40 race starts. Bell said the team must focus on achieving a “strong reliability record” with the RS18, which it launched today.

Renault RS18, 2018
Interactive: First pictures of the Renault RS18
“We need the car as reliable as we can make it,” said Bell. “That’s a huge challenge, even more so than performance development, and it’s the toughest task we face.”

Bell said the most important goal for the team to achieve in testing is “laps and mileage”.

“To improve reliability we have to accept nothing less than perfection,” he added. “Anything that ends up on the car needs to be designed and built to the highest standard, checked and rechecked as fit for purpose. All the issues which blighted us last year need to be eradicated by a fresh approach. It’s not something however that you can flick on like a switch, you need well established processes in place.”

Renault’s engine technical director Remi Taffin said the new restrictions on power unit life in 2018 will make achieving their reliability goal even harder.

“The main change in terms of regulations is that there are fewer power units available for the drivers over the season, just three each now,” said Taffon. “In fact, it’s actually more challenging than that, as we are limited to three [engines] but only two MGU-Ks and two energy stores.”

“Our first priority is for reliability and it’s going to be even more difficult as we have to get another quarter out of the engine life on top of the target for 2017. Of course, we knew the three engine rule was going to come, so it’s something we scaled in for 2017 in preparation for 2018. We started designing the 2018 engine in 2016 with the three engine limitation in mind and we have completed more hours on the dyno than ever before.”

Renault says the new iteration of its power unit for 2018 will produce in excess of 950bhp.

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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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  • 12 comments on “Reliability, not performance, is biggest challenge for Renault – Bell”

    1. I wonder how good would feel for Fernando to have 950bhp on his back after all these years

      1. If liberty had the sense to broadcast testing live on YouTube, alonso’s radio feedback during his first drive with a Renault engine would be my TV highlight of the week.

    2. Aren’t Merc and Ferrari at or near 1000 already?

      1. @krommenaas Certainly Mercedes said late last year they were close to 1,000bhp.

      2. I’m not sure, but I thought Mercedes said that they have broken the 1000bhp mark in some engine modes in the right conditions.

    3. I’m not betting McLaren will have any better luck this year with Renault. Sure the engine may be faster, but if it doesn’t make it to the end of the race….

      1. If you’re only going to finish a handful of races all year, then might as well finish up the order instead of out of the points (Honda style)

    4. Unless you have a Merc in the back of your car, you’ll be chasing your tail all year.

    5. I think this 3 engine rule with only 2 MGUK and 2 Energy Stores is ridiculous. Were the FIA not watching Formula 1 last year when…. Honda racked up over a 100 grid penalties and went through nearly 10 engines on each driver, Renault engines failed nearly 30% of Sundays, when Ferrari’s biggest championship chances blow was engine unreliability in Malaysia and Japan.

      I wonder at what point did the FIA sit down and think… hmmm.. I think all engine manufacturers have got their reliability sorted out, so let’s make it much more difficult for them by making the engines last 60% longer. FIA seems pretty confident that teams like Honda and Renault will close the performance and the reliability gap with these new set of rules, and certainly this engine ruling will tighten up the competition at the front end.

      1. These rules about the engine amounts were defined and agreed upon by all parties at the table even before the FIA published those rules ahead of 2014 @todfod.

        Going ahead with the rules as they were written 5 years ago is the default unless they all agree on a change to NOT go to less engines. And having less engines also is tied to the cost coming down for customer teams. Making agreement on using more engines than planned even harder.

        1. @bascb

          Going ahead with the rules as they were written 5 years ago is the default unless they all agree on a change to NOT go to less engines.

          Not entirely sure about that. If you asked Renault, Red Bull, McLaren and Toro Rosso whether they should go ahead with a reduced number of power units for 2018, I’m pretty sure they would all be against it. Maybe it’s just that Ferrari and Mercedes customers are rallying against it.

          They must have all agreed to signing the agreement in 2014, but 3 seasons later, 2 of the 4 engine manufacturers are still struggling. 40% of the teams on the grid are sure to get penalised next year. I just don’t understand how it is in the best interest of the sport to further widen the gap between teams. The FIA should have altered it to at least 4 to make the season more interesting.

          1. Yeah, well, the rules are just that way and indeed there was agreement on them (probably rather from the engine manufacturers I think).

            I am pretty sure the subject was brought up and it was Mercedes wanting to stay with the current plan and against changing it, although Ferrari might have also been in favour of going ahead as planned. If i remember right, both mentioned that choosing to use more engines might be fine for rich teams like McLaren or Red Bull, but the likes of FI, Williams and Sauber as well as Haas would most likely not be happy about paying more instead of less.

            The FIA cannot change that for this season by itself anyway, that would require unanimity since about mid 2017.

    Comments are closed.