Esteban Ocon, Renault, Circuit de Catalunya, 2020

Ocon expects Renault will benefit from ‘quali mode’ ban

2020 F1 season

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Esteban Ocon believes the coming ban on teams using ‘quali modes’ on their engines is likely to play into Renault’s hands.

The FIA originally intended to ban the high-performance settings from this weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix. However as RaceFans revealed last week, this has been postponed until the next race in Italy.

Ocon believes Renault stand to gain from the change. “If it [happens] I think we are good because our race mode is very competitive at the moment,” he said.

“I don’t know exactly if some manufacturers turn up a bit more their engine in qualifying than others. But what I know is that our race mode is competitive so hopefully it will play in our favour.

“At the moment we are fighting against the McLarens, against obviously the Racing Points. So the McLaren are going to be similar to us in the end because it’s the same engine. Let’s see how it turns out. It’s the same for everyone, but hopefully it could level up the field.”

McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl, whose cars also use Renault power, said it’s too early to judge the full implications of the change.

“Nowadays, with these complex power units, there is a big variety of different settings existing for different modes on the combustion engine, for different modes of the hybrid system, the way you use the battery and so on for reliability, for power, for attacking, defending and so on.

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“In the end, we need to wait [to see] what a change, if there is a change, this is targeting. For us as a customer the most important thing is that whatever the rules are, we simply get exactly the same modes and mileage for the different modes as the works team is having. And here I have maximum confidence in both Renault and Mercedes that they treat their customers the same as the works team.”

Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, Circuit de Catalunya, 2020
McLaren will have F1’s “benchmark” power unit next year, says Seidl
Next year McLaren will switch to Mercedes, who have produced the standard-setting power units since the current V6 hybrid turbo power units were introduced in 2014. Seidl doubts the latest change in the engine rules will significantly weaken Mercedes’ position as F1’s top engine builder.

“I have no overview of what the difference of the different modes is for the different engine manufacturers,” he said. “I’m sure every engine manufacturer has different modes available between qualifying and the race and also within the race.

“So I would be surprised if any engine manufacturer has just one mode available. How big the difference is between the different engine manufacturers, I can’t judge. So I think that’s really a topic that needs to be sorted between the engine manufacturers and FIA.

“One [thing] maybe also to add, I think whatever the rule changes, I think that is the capacities and abilities Mercedes is having, whatever the rules will be, I’m sure they will keep being the benchmark in this modern hybrid power unit era.”

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2020 F1 season

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20 comments on “Ocon expects Renault will benefit from ‘quali mode’ ban”

  1. I think Ocon misunderstands what this will do to the engine and the modes they run in. Since Mercedes doesn’t have to reserve their extra for the qualifying modes anymore, they can use that to boost the normal mode to a higher level of power.

    1. Only if their higher modes are safe for extended use.

      :D Imagine Mercedes always running in Q3 mode.

    2. I think the FIA have no idea what they’re going to cause with this change either to be honest, I seriously doubt it will have the intended effect of reigning in Mercedes though.

      1. Who knows @slowmo, maybe the real purpose of this is really to just make things far simpler to police. But it does mean the cars will be less able to get to their absolute maximum. Then again, it also means they cannot as easily tune down to save fuel, leaving more of the “how” of driving in a way to limit strain on the cars to the drivers.

        I guess we’ll see in the next few race weekends what it changes

        1. @bascb I mentioned when this was announced that we’ll be back to lift and coast driving which I’m not a fan of personally. I’d rather a driver had a fuel saving engine mode that they can drive to the limit of, safe in the knowledge they’re saving fuel rather than coasting into braking zones and driving deliberately slowly to save fuel. It might even mean more advantage to the most experienced drivers on the grid who previously drove in this manner.

          1. I agree @slowmo. I see nothing wrong with drivers adjusting the setting of their car to get the most out of it while driving.

          2. I don’t understand this comment, lifting and coasting to save fuel vs a slower car that is basically always saving fuel but the driver can drive to the max.
            Somehow driving a slower car to the max is better than driving a faster car to the max for part of the time, but also having to adjust to save fuel as well.
            So the slower slower car would be better because the driver can drive it at maximum, rather than a faster car being driven to the max for part of the time? Feels like swings and roundabouts to me.
            In the beginning there were no engine modes, just 1 engine, 1 chassis, 1 gearbox and 1 driver. It either made it to the finish or it didn’t.

      2. @bascb and @slowmo read a speculation (don’t think it even had a enthusiastic Italian newspaper as a source) that maybe Ferrari, after being stopped from doing whatever worked for them last (few) year(s), over the winter also worked to make the engine more reliable, ie. able to run longer in a higher mode, and would thus actually profit from the whole thing once these rules happen.

        Now, doubt it really as that seems way too on the nose, but if that would be right, imagine that the FIA got all the gray-zone ideas, some colouring in,at, just over, and way beyond the regulatory areas to spook them, speculating/lobbying for this TD (because clearly the FIA don’t have a handle on policing things), and then when this happens are actually back ahead of Red Bull (doubt Merc will stop being the strongest, their chassis+aero works too well also)! Would be spectacular to see dr.Marko’s face. But, also really bad for the FIA, and certain to re-open that protest against the secret deal.

      3. I agree with this! This ban on “Quali-modes” is a ban on one shade of grey paint, but lots of other shades of grey paint are allowed, and even shades of grey that automatically change from light to dark are allowed (and can happen to spend a lot of time at the banned Qualification-grey), only Qualification-grey isn’t allowed. Where’s the FIA’s definition of what is Qualification-grey? How can you ban something when you haven’t defined what it is? Basically this comes down to a subjective belief by the Stewards, which won’t fare well for the team they have decided has cheated, especially if it’s a team at the back of the grid.

    3. That might very well be the outcome, @bascb.
      ‘Kneejerk decisions’ often create unwanted outcomes.

      1. @coldfly indeed – the FIA’s record with these sorts of snap judgements with decisions where the commercial bodies are involved in lobbying for changes often have unintended consequences that can backfire on the sport.

    4. I think Ocon probably understands this better than most of us here

  2. Yes @bascb Ocon and Liberty both! And Horner too. But as you say they’re just forcing Mercedes to be smart and only have pole by .1 instead of .7 then turn it up a bit all race long.

  3. Interesting.. so as of Monza Ocon will crush Ricciardo. New engine, no quali mode. He should be lightning fast by then..

  4. Kids a goof. Hopefully the FIA will revert this silliness after a couple races.

  5. Josh (@canadianjosh)
    25th August 2020, 17:38

    This is such a joke I can’t even begin to understand. I hate Mercedes dominance as much as the next person but the FIA hampering and pulling the reigns on what this car is capable and has been engineered to do is a total disgrace. Ocon should just shut his yap and get on with it.

  6. Apparently there is rumors that this engine mode directive is to help police engine performance and less about banning quali-modes in general.

    Could be total hogwash, but some are claiming that after the Ferrari investigation last year, they might be the ONLY engine manufacturer following the letter of the law, and the other 3 engine manufacturers are pushing beyond what is strictly legal.

    So perhaps this is Ferrari following up with their promise to help police the sport and this could bring the other engines back closer to Ferrari.

    1. This is the comment that probably most closely resembles the truth of the situation. FIA can’t determine if teams are cheating because the trickery is beyond them. Thus bring everyone back to a point that can be policed.

    2. Ferrari the only engine manufacturer who follow the letter of the Law is boulderdash everyone knows this but FIA couldn’t prove this…

  7. It is of interest that none, repeat, none of the manufacturers have indicated any form of protest to this mid season rule change. Suggests they know they are best keeping quiet.

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