Renault Sport F1 Preview to the Malaysian GP
6 April 2011 - This weekend will see the second round of the 2011 FIA Formula One World Championship, the Malaysian Grand Prix. Renault Sport F1 got the new season off to a flying start at the first round in Australia, with two drivers powered by the RS27 engine stepping onto the podium. Red Bull Racing-Renault’s reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel took the first honours with a dominant victory at Albert Park, while Lotus Renault GP’s Vitaly Petrov achieved his best-ever F1 finish in third. To continue Renault’s dominant form, Vettel’s team-mate, Mark Webber, finished in fifth position, giving Renault three of the top five positions and a total of 50 points from the first event.
RSF1 will be looking to continue this form and repeat the results of last year: the 2010 Malaysian Grand Prix saw the RS27 seal its first victory of the year with partners Red Bull Racing-Renault’s Sebastian Vettel taking the win with team-mate Mark Webber second and Renault F1 Team’s Robert Kubica fourth.
Quick focus on Malaysia
* The Malaysian Grand Prix presents a challenge for engines on account of the high ambient temperatures and humidity. Along with Abu Dhabi and Bahrain, the ambient temperatures can reach over 40°C so engine cooling becomes crucial. Some teams will cut holes in the bodywork to aid airflow to the engine however the RS27’s cooling system means that no such compromise needs to be taken. To do so, Renault Sport F1 recreates the climatic conditions in one of its dynos back at Viry-Châtillon, including running with 100% humidity and 40°C heat.
* Sepang features two long straights of an average of 850m each, which mean the engine will be at maximum 18,000 revs for approx 12.5 seconds, so correct engine management is crucial. Monza and Spa are the circuits that push the engine hardest with the engine running at the top of its rev limit for 75% of the time, but at Malaysia it will run at maximum for 60% of the lap.
* Maintaining fuel temperature without compromising on performance is also vital in Sepang. The high ambient temperatures can cause fuel to run over the recommended temperatures, meaning a lower grade fuel must be used by engine suppliers. Renault’s fuel partner, Total, produces two types of fuel for use with the RS27 and despite the high Malaysian ambient heat, Renault’s partners are still able to use the most high-spec of fuel since both Total and its customers have made progress in the chemical characteristics and insulation.
* Engines enter the second race of their life cycle. The reliability and consistent performance of the RS27 means all Renault engined drivers will be re-using the Australian engines in Malaysia, including Team Lotus’ Heikki Kovalainen, who stopped on track during the Australian Grand Prix.
Did you know?
The blown floors prevalent in the field this year mean that engine and exhaust management is even more crucial than in previous seasons. To power a blown floor effectively and generate additional downforce, an engine must produce significant amounts of exhaust gas. Simply put, the more fuel burned, the more exhaust is produced and potentially more downforce. Since the RS27’s fuel consumption rate is extremely good, the Renault-equipped teams were able to burn 10% more fuel than normal during the Australian Grand Prix without running out of fuel, therefore giving more exhaust flow to its partners using the blown diffuser.
Q&A with Jean-François Caubet, managing director of Renault Sport F1
Two Renault engines were on the podium in Australia, you must be very pleased with how the event went?
Absolutely, to win the first race of the year is a fantastic result, but to have a third engine on the podium is a perfect start. We were confident of the performance and reliability of the RS27 engine and it is now borne out by the results. Renault remained in F1 to show its technical capabilities and high level of performance and this result completely justifies the board’s decision.
Australia was Renault’s first race with three teams. How did the weekend go for you?
We were always confident that we could supply three teams and achieve success, and although one race doesn’t necessarily equal a championship, we are certainly very happy with how each relationship is progressing and how the overall RSF1 team is working. We know we already work well with our long-term partners, Red Bull Racing and Lotus Renault GP, and we’ve already established a very strong working relationship with Team Lotus. There’s a great atmosphere in the team and the engineers on both the team and engine sides have established a good basis for the future.
Are you confident that Renault can maintain its service to clients throughout the season?
The fact we scored 50 points alone from the first race shows we’ve got a good foundation
We are a relatively small team at Viry, only 250 people, but we are 250 people entirely dedicated to the development of F1 engines and to the service of our clients. This size also means we are very adaptable as the lines of communication are simple and working procedures quick to implement. The fact we scored 50 points alone from the first race shows we’ve got a good foundation.
Will your partner teams be using KERS this race?
The KERS system is an extremely complex one, with RSF1 providing some of the architecture of the system and the partner teams certain systems and data. As such, it’s a decision that will be taken in consultation with each of the teams.
Track direction Clockwise
No of laps 56 laps (310.41km)
Lap record 1:34.223 (Montoya, 2004)
No of turns 15
Max rev limit 60%
Fuel consumption Medium
Downforce level Medium – high
Average speed 213kph
Highest speed 305kph
Source: Renault Sport