May 2011 –After a three week gap the 2011 FIA Formula One World Championship returns to action with the Turkish Grand Prix from 6 – 8 May. The Turkish round may be on the very fringes of Europe however it kicks off the ‘European season’, a run of nine races within the continent, with only one trip ‘overseas’ in four months.
Renault Sport F1 has had a strong start to the season so far, with the RS27 engine claiming two wins with Sebastian Vettel, six podiums and 137 points across its partner teams of Red Bull Racing, Lotus Renault GP and Team Lotus.
Renault has a good record at the Turkish Grand Prix: since the race came onto the calendar in 2005 a Renault engine has started from pole twice and finished on the podium five times.
Quick focus on Turkey…
The Istanbul Park circuit is one of the most varied on the calendar, with both high and low speed sections. The most famous corner on the track is the seemingly never-ending Turn 8, a four apex corner leading onto a straight. Although this corner has a spoon-like profile, it is actually taken completely flat, therefore putting the engine at maximum revs from the exit of turn 7, through turn 8 and then onto the straight leading to turn 9. The total time at full power for this complex is 17secs.
After the braking zone for turn 9 the driver goes back on the throttle through turn 10 and stays on it through the slight kink of turn 11 until the hairpin at turn 12. He will be on the power for another 17secs, giving a total of 34secs at maximum revs through five corners.
The low speed turn 12, 13, 14 complex is an area where a driver can gain – or lose – large amounts of time. The driver will brake from 320kph to 80kph for turn 12, a shallow hairpin, before the tight right hander of turn 13 and then the final corner into the pit straight. Good driveability and traction out of the slow corners is key so Renault Sport F1 has spent considerable time preparing an RS27 in a dyno mapping out engine settings specifically for this complex.
From the pole slot to the first corner there is only 150m; similar to the Monaco track. Without any change of direction the pole sitter will make this short distance in approximately six seconds. In this case KERS will not be a major advantage as there will only be a very short margin to use it – just 3.5secs.
Renault Sport F1 teams will be using the same engines they used in the Chinese Grand Prix, the second GP of their life cycle.
Did you know…
There is a correlation between high downforce and high fuel consumption. Even though there are 14 corners, the Istanbul Park Circuit is a medium downforce track as a significant percentage of the lap is spent on a straight. Therefore it does not command a high fuel consumption rate from engines. Fuel consumption for a F1 engine is roughly 500g/km but measurements can vary by 0.5% over a race. Approx 150kg of fuel is used for a 300km race, meaning a driver could possibly finish with around 750g left in the cell. Engineers would aim to come in at less than this at the end of a race so engine settings will be carefully monitored, particularly towards the final laps.
Q&A with Jean-François Caubet, managing director of Renault Sport F1
From Renault’s point of view we are very pleased with the results so far
Jean-François Caubet A good start to the season from Renault’s partners in F1 so far!
It’s been a very good start to the season so far for all of our partners. Red Bull Racing has scored two out of three wins and now leads the drivers’ and constructors’ championships. Likewise Lotus Renault GP is looking very strong with two podiums and can be counted within the same group of leading teams including the Red Bulls, Ferrari and McLaren. Team Lotus are also doing a great job both on and off the track, achieving a double finish in China for the first time this season. From Renault’s point of view we are very pleased with the results so far: one of the reasons for remaining in F1 was to achieve success and demonstrate the quality of the Renault product, and the recent results are satisfying this goal.
How do you ensure that this success can be continued throughout the year?
We work very closely with our partner teams to determine what direction they are taking with the chassis and how we can give the maximum power within this envelope. We cannot take credit for the design of a chassis or any upgrades, but we do need to ensure that as the car develops throughout the season, the engine delivers the same driveability and traction. This is particularly key this year with the blown floors becoming more refined at each race and therefore more crucial to lap time.
We work very closely with our partner teams to determine what direction they are taking
Renault is supplying three teams this season. With three races run, how has Viry responded to the challenge and have there been any changes to the way the factory is run?
We see the supply of a third team as a challenge, but we have developed the engine to a readily usable state and while we have reorganised some of the team to facilitate the work at the track and factory we have not had to significantly alter our modus operandi. It means we can put our efforts into delivering the best engine we can.
Track direction: Anticlockwise
No of laps: 58
Lap record: 1min 24.770 (J. Montoya 2005)
No of turns: 14
Fuel consumption: Medium
Downforce level: Medium
Average speed: 221kph
Highest speed: 320kph
Source: Renault Sport