Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Sochi Autodrom, 2018

Renault C-spec potentially less powerful in race trim – Verstappen

2018 Russian Grand Prix

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Red Bull can’t use Renault’s recently-introduced C-spec power unit at the Mexican and Brazilian Grands Prix due to the higher altitude of the tracks, says Max Verstappen.

The driver also revealed Renault’s latest specification potentially offers less power in the races but has more available for a single lap in qualifying.

Both Red Bull drivers are set to start this weekend’s race from the back of the grid as the team fits new ‘B-spec’ Renault power units to their cars. Verstappen predicted they will be able to get “back to fifth and sixth” in the race.

“That’s our target,” he said. “Pace-wise we should get there it just depends how easily you can overtake on this track. We’ll focus maybe a little bit more on the long run than the short run and then try to set up the car in a good way.”

He explained why the team is reverting to a previous specification of Renault’s power unit: “Our C-spec cannot run at high altitude in Mexico and Brazil,” he said. “We always knew since we took the C-spec on that we had to take another B at one point. So I think this is the best place to do it. Also to have a bit more spare parts in case something breaks down.”

The Mexican and Brazil rounds of the world championship take place at the two highest circuits on the calendar. The Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez is 2,200 metres above sea level and Interlagos is at 764m.

According to Verstappen the C-spec power unit offers a performance gain in qualifying but not in races because “the recovery of the engine is not as good.”

“The C-spec has a little more power in qualifying but it’s the same or maybe a little slower in the race,” he explained.

“But it’s all about qualifying. You always want to take another tenth or one-and-a-half tenths if the engine gives it to you. That’s why we decided to take the C-spec.

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34 comments on “Renault C-spec potentially less powerful in race trim – Verstappen”

  1. From the looks of things since RIC’s announced move to Renault, Max has been moved to the role of Head of Negative Publicity (Engine and Associated Parts division)

    1. I don’t see any negativity, just a driver explaining a situation. What negativity are you referring too?

      1. Yeah I don’t see the negativity either, other than in the same way Max has been speaking all year, which has been obvious for the world to see anyway…the Renault Pu’s lack power vs Mercedes and Ferrari (and Max hopes vs Honda too). I don’t think anything has changed in Max’s tone since the DR to Renault news. He’s been consistent all season on their lack of hp. And it’s not like he is slinging mud at Renault with vicious insults or anything. Just always saying they lack hp which hurts them at many tracks. We can all see it.

      2. Where he is saying Renault’s latest offering isn’t as good as their previous attempt in race trim. If that isn’t negativity then what is? @passingisoverrated @robbie

        1. @tonyyeb For sure it is negativity, but I just reject the notion that Max has taken over in the negativity department since DR’s move announcement. I think he has been consistent with his remarks all season, and he is being quite diplomatic in that he doesn’t insult Renault for lack of effort, unfulfilled promises, being incompetent etc etc. He moreso just states the facts and it is almost always from him ‘lack of hp’ and ‘lack of speed on long straights’.

    2. What negativity? Surely even you can see that the Renault engine lacks lots of grunt!

    3. He certainly has joined the ranks of his team boss and consultant to burn as many bridges as possible.

      1. That bridge has been crossed and a return was out of the question anyway; and nobody threw as much fuel on the burning bridge as Abiteboul.
        Renault would have stopped providing Red Bull years ago if Bernie had not intervened.

    4. its called “Click Bait Headline”.

  2. Didn’t know until now that they’d both be starting from the back. This should help SV in his effort to do what he must, which of course is to finish as far ahead of LH as possible.

    1. @robbie I am not so sure. Vettel needs a to win a race that something goes wrong for Lewis. With the Red Bulls last, even if he has an issue like qualifying badly or a puncture, he could still finish 3rd, quite easily.

      1. @afonic You mean LH could still come in third easily even if he has a problem? That’s true, especially without the RBR’s around, but my main thinking was that the absence of the RBR’s, especially Max these days, is at least less for SV to have to deal with while he desperately needs to finish ahead of LH. For sure the placing of the RBR’s at the back could help LH too, but my main thought was for SV as he is the one that is either going to make this an exciting season to the end, or make it anti-climactic if he can’t lessen the points gap this weekend.

        1. the absence of the RBR’s, especially Max these days, is at least less for SV to have to deal with

          @robbie – Oh, I don’t know. Seeing how Max sensibly held back from attacking Hamilton when the latter was held up by blue flags, I’d think Max is now more wary of Seb than the reverse :-D

          1. @phylyp Ya fair point, but at least Max (and DR) won’t be ahead of Seb at the start, all things being normal for Seb this weekend though. Sure Max wouldn’t make SV’s life miserable since they shouldn’t be near each other on Sunday, and because Max just won’t for the same reason he didn’t challenge LH at the last race, which was the same race that had Seb unable to finish ahead of Max, and that likely won’t be an issue for Seb this weekend.

          2. That’s true, @robbie , I was just gently poking fun at how Vettel’s errors are contrasting with Max’s improving maturity (Max, don’t prove me wrong this weekend). And I say this as a Vettel fan, who’s seeing the championship slipping away (again) from his driver.

          3. @phylyp Lol, fair enough.

    2. I don’t see Stoffel finishing ahead of Lewis unless he, Lewis, breaks down.

      Oh, you mean the other SV.

  3. Such a shame RBR have been held back by Reno since the Hybrid era began. Really poor from Reno, we are in 2018 and they still are not close to Ferrari and Merc in performance or reliability. RBR probably have the best chasis on the grid. Here’s hoping Honda can work a miracle for 2019 and give RBR an engine they can fight Ferrari and Merc with.

    1. Some would say that problem started with the token system upon the intro of the hybrids, meant to curb spending on development, which also locked in Merc’s advantage. Last year Zak Brown predicted that only Mercedes would win the Championships through 2020. But I agree with what you have said @wobs

      1. @Robbie, it would be hard to attribute Renault’s failings to the token system given that they didn’t use any for that season.

        Renault’s problem is that it’s PU isn’t good enough and they’ve failed to really recognise (or they are unwilling to) since the beginning of the Turbo Hybrid era.

        1. @dbradock Fair enough. So that they didn’t use any tokens certainly means they did no development in that first year, no? Perhaps they should have used all of year one’s tokens and they might have learned some things that might have put them a little step closer by now.

    2. Red Bull also pushes their package way more than the factory team does.
      Mclaren pushed for the tightest package possible and the Honda was breaking non stop.

      Let’s see how they make it work next year. If they can.

      1. I’m sure Adrian Newey is on it as we speak.

  4. start this weekend’s race from the back of the grid as the team fits new ‘B-spec’ Renault

    That’s why we decided to take the C-spec.

    I am a little confused. I presume he means they took the C spec this year compered to McLaren & Renault. If I have understood this correctly RBR decided to introduce the B spec now so they take the penalty here rather than in Mexico or Brazil as these to tracks are strong for them.

    1. @ming-mong – I think what Max is saying is that they intentionally stepped up to the C-spec in particular for Singapore to give them the qualifying advantage and a better starting position, instead of persisting with the older B-spec that they had. And – as you’ve rightly interpreted – now with the confidence they have to work their way through the grid at Sochi, they’re willing to take the engine penalty by switching back to a new set of the B-spec.

  5. Here is the problem with 2018 F1 in a nutshell. The top three teams are too far ahead of the rest.

    If Red Bull has a standard weekend and qualify on the third row, they finish 5th and 6th (behind the Mercs and Ferraris).

    If Red Bull has a bad weekend because they start at the back of the grid, they finish 5th and 6th (behind the Mercs and Ferraris).

    Got to find a way to get the cars closer (aim for no more than 1.5 seconds between pole and 20th position I’d say). Look at the Brazilian quali from 2004…

    Top 11 within a second of each other.

    1. Seems a bit of a strange choice to complain about the top teams being too far ahead and to then pick the 2004 season as an example, given how utterly dominant Ferrari was that season with their F2004 (in fact, in general that season wasn’t a particularly well balanced season).

      1. Interlagos is the quickest lap by a long way, a second there and a second at Spa are two very different problems to face.

    2. Quite right with Mercedes and Ferrari 1st to 4th. It’s ridiculous that Hamilton can start from the back of the grid and be in the top 6 within the first few laps. Where’s the skill in that?

      1. “Where’s the skill in that” !?, Top driver, top design team, same engine, that’s where the skill is. The question should be “Where’s the skill gone in the back 7/10ths. of teams.

  6. Last year RBR was suffering a shortage of spare parts for the Renault power unis. Seems that the same problem is evident this year. One might ask, “why do you need to replace parts and why does the supplier not have them.?”
    Question for the Turbo-Engine Gurus out there.
    What is going on here.?
    If the C spec is down on power at higher altitudes, is this an indicator of too small drive turbine in the turbo set.? That would possibly fit with the concept that the MGUH can extract (store) more for a one lap qualifying performance.

  7. So Renaultf finally got Red Bull to the party (mode) on Saturdays but on the condition that they have to leave the party early before the fun starts!

  8. Putting peices together you can tell that the C-spec is really an upgraded Turbocharger and intake manifold combination. The reducded recovery is a hint.

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