Carlos Sainz Jnr, Renault, Red Bull Ring, 2018

Renault’s qualifying boost is ‘not quite a party mode’

2018 Austrian Grand Prix

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Renault will be able to extract more power from its engine in qualifying this weekend following the upgrade to its MGU-K.

But chief technical officer Bob Bell said the new setting is not on a par with those used by the likes of Mercedes, which was referred to as ‘party mode’ by Lewis Hamilton earlier this year.

“I’m not quite sure I’d describe our qualifying opportunities as a ‘party mode’,” Bell told media including RaceFans at the Red Bull Ring. “[It’s] probably not quite in the same league as was previously run at other engine manufacturers.”

RaceFans understands Renault’s qualifying boost is worth around 15bhp.

“We have some improvements to the engine that come on a race-by-race basis,” Bell explained. “We’re always finding new ways with these engines to operate them to get a little bit more performance.

“I think Renault have been a little bit behind the curve on that but we’re starting to pick it up now. We’ve got a small improvement but it’s not ‘night and day’ stuff.”

Bell added the mode is “something we might try in a practice session on a Friday to make sure it’s not having some unintended consequence, but its first use in anger is more likely to be in qualifying.”

The team’s long-awaited upgrade to the MGU-K brings two main benefits, according to Bell. “It’s lighter, so it frees up a bit of ballast, which is always good, so we can effect the [centre of gravity] of the car a bit more. And it’s probably more reliable than the old one. So it’s win-win, really.”

“There’s quite a weight difference between the two drivers,” Bell added, “so it’ll help Nico [Hulkenberg] more than Carlos [Sainz Jnr].”

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Author information

Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
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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  • 8 comments on “Renault’s qualifying boost is ‘not quite a party mode’”

    1. Will be interesting to see how this affects (helps) the renault powered cars in qualifying then!

      1. Especially if one of the Renault’s parties too hard…

    2. So that radio program was right it´s atleast 15 hp extra could be handy.

    3. a ‘just a few friends hanging out and chilling mode’ then? ;)

      1. Still heck of a lot better than ‘calling it an early night’ mode :)

    4. I love the “I think they’ve been a bit behind the curve” part of the comment from Bob nearly as much as the “probably more reliable”

      Must fill all users of Renault PU’s full of confidence.

      I really hope that Renault can get it together on the PU side I really do but it’s been way too long. They’ve been so fortunate that Honda came along as it reduced their exposure to ridicule by a massive factor.

      1. Well renault powered engines have won races so they aren’t that bad. Every year of the v6 era has had a Renault engine win a race.

        1. Red Bull didn’t win in 2015.

    Comments are closed.