A numerical run-down of the championship-winning Renault F1 car and engine
Since taking championship victory for the second consecutive team in Brazil last weekend, the Renault F1 Team has been on cloud nine. So let's take the opportunity to look at the hard numbers about the R26...
It took nearly 18 months from drawing board, or rather computer screen, to race debut. Before it even turned a wheel, it demanded nearly 10,000 drawings and around 6,500 components! An F1 car of this kind is a like a giant, full-scale puzzle of which up to 80% is made of carbon fibre, the favourite material of F1 designers. Six chassis were produced this season for use in races and testing -- that equates to about 21km of carbon fibre textile!
With aero developments coming on stream at each race, the R26 was constantly evolving throughout the season in order to achieve the objectives announced long ago in January: double championship victory.
The job has now been done, and the R26 took 8 Grand Prix wins, 7 pole positions, 5 fastest laps, 3 100% Renault front rows and scored 206 points in total. It led 520 laps during the season, which equates to nearly 2,485km of the 10,394km raced in total during the year. The numbers leave no doubt about it: the R26 more than deserves its crown, just like the 550 women and men at Enstone who worked unstintingly to achieve their goal.
But in Formula 1, nothing ever stands still... Even as the R26 returned from Brazil several days ago, the factory is already hard at work on its new baby, the R27, of which the first example should be ready to break cover early in the new year... There's no rest for the wicked... or the world champions!
You already know how many points it scored, how many laps it led this season, and the total number of laps completed, but what about getting to know the real RS26? Here's a portrait of a special world champion...
An engine represents... months of work to understand the regulations and optimise the answers to its problems, to obtain the best performance/reliability compromise and to install the beast seamlessly into a chassis designed 500km away. It's quite a challenge that the 250 women and men of Viry-Ch?tillon have to face. And once again, they met that challenge in a virtuoso manner, as the results of the RS26 demonstrate in the first season of the V8 regulations!
The RS26 is, as the regulations specify, an 8-cylinder engine with an angle of 90° between the two banks of four cylinders. It displaces 2.4l, and has a minimum imposed weight of 95kg. But beyond the rules, this engine required than 4000 components in more than 20 metal alloys. In total, more than 100 suppliers contributed to a manufacturing effort that produced around 1,500,000 components for track, dyno and research engines combined!
Every RS26 engine required nearly two weeks of assembly by two highly-skilled technicians. The closest comparison is the work of a watchmaker, where every component must be assembled with minute precision. The objectives are simple: zero defect and 100% performance and reliability.
A, B, C, D, E... That's the range of different specifications that were used by Fernando and Giancarlo during their championship-winning run. The RS26 was developed throughout the season until the final race, a decisive race in conquering the double-double title success.
Most significantly of all, success in 2006 confirmed Renault's technological expertise. The company was the final world champion of the V10 era, and the first world champion of the V8 era. It's the kind of success that illustrates perfectly the know-how and competitive spirit that go into every Renault engine!