Renault Sport press release
The Italian Grand Prix, held at the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza, will be the second consecutive ‘power’ track, with a high percentage of the lap spent at full throttle compared to the majority of circuits on the 2011 calendar.
After a strong performance in Spa-Francorchamps, with a 1-2 finish for the RS27 with partners Red Bull Racing, Renault Sport F1 is looking forward to the challenge of the long straights of Monza, the toughest circuit of the year for engines.
Italian Grand Prix facts and figures
• Approximately 75% of the 5.793km Autodromo Nazionale di Monza is spent at full throttle. That equates to 4.345km spent at close to max rpm.
• Monza has the highest wide open throttle time of the year; Spa-Francorchamps, the next highest, is around 70%.
• Dependant on the aerodynamic package used, top speed round Monza is around 330kph. This will be hit down the pit straight and just before the Variante Ascari. In 2010 the highest speed peaked at 333kph with the engine running at near maximum revs, 17,900rpm from a maximum of 18,000rpm.
• Riding the kerbs shortens the lap distance so driveability into and out of the chicanes is key to a good lap time – even though a high percentage of the lap is spent on the throttle, lots of time can be won or lost in the chicanes so the engine needs to pick up quickly when braking down.
• The Parabolica at the end of the lap is the only real ‘corner’ on the circuit. It’s taken in fourth gear for 4secs, so the driver has to be smooth on the throttle and the engine needs to be smooth and not ‘peaky’ – it’s more about rolling into the corner and keeping the momentum going. Renault Sport F1 works on this particularly closely with the chassis engineers to get the right compromise between driveability and power on the exit onto the longest straight, where the engine will be held for approximately 17secs at full throttle before braking for the first chicane.
The drivers’ view
Jarno Trulli, Team Lotus
Even though Monza looks like it is an easy track, with very few corners, it is hard to get a good lap time as we run very low downforce for the straights but there are tight chicanes that need technical precision.
Braking into these chicanes as late as possible and riding the kerbs can make a big difference to your overall lap time. Having an engine that responds quickly is really important as we need to time acceleration out of the chicanes perfectly to hit top speed early. Maintaining good top end power is then crucial, but it’s also important to have a smooth engine for the longer corners like the Parabolica where we sit in fourth or fifth gear for up to four seconds. It’s one of the races I’ll work most closely with my engine engineer to make sure these settings are right as it can make all the difference to your potential to score points.
The engineers’ view
Head of Renault Sport F1 track operations Rémi Taffin gives his thoughts on Monza
Monza is the toughest circuit of the year for the RS27 and we actually use it as the reference for the Renault Sport F1 endurance tests on the dyno at Viry-Châtillon. The driver will spend as much as 75% at full throttle and maximum revs so we make sure that all the internals, maps, fuel and lubricants are double and triple checked. We could run a test engine to as much as 3,000km on a simulation of this track to check reliability and performance - that’s ten times a race distance.
Correct gear calibration is also crucial, particularly with two DRS activation zones
Monza has two very long straights that are over a kilometre each so we work to create a powerful engine map that works well over the last two thousand revs. Correct gear calibration is also crucial, particularly with two DRS activation zones, as we want the driver to hit seventh gear just below the rev limit to have good acceleration out of the very slow chicanes. These chicanes demand a very driveable engine as the driver will brake down from over 330kph to just 80kph and then accelerate back up to over 300kph in a little over 150m.
In terms of speed Monza is actually comparable to a high speed Oval in the States, with an average speed of over 250kph. The engines are put under incredible stress so we are likely to introduce new power units for each of our partners for this race, despite having used new engines at the last event in Spa-Francorchamps.
Did you know…
A high percentage of the lap is spent at full throttle, which increases fuel consumption. This is however counterbalanced by the very low drag. In other words, more fuel is injected into the engine than any other circuit but since the car is going so much faster the effect is cancelled out. Monza is therefore counted as an ‘average to low’ fuel consumption on kg/km.
Renault in Italy
Renault engines have won the Italian Grand Prix on six occasions. Alain Prost scored the first Renault victory in 1981, with René Arnoux sealing a consecutive victory for the Régie in 1982. Williams-Renault had three victories, with Nigel Mansell winning in 1991 and then Damon Hill in 1993 and 1994. Johnny Herbert then won for Benetton-Renault in 1995.
Renault engines have also started the Italian Grand Prix from pole position nine times. Jean-Pierre Jabouille put the V6 on pole in 1979 and René Arnoux in 1980 and 1981. Ayrton Senna (Lotus-Renault) started on pole in 1985, while Williams-Renault secured four poles between 1992 and 1996. Jean Alesi also sealed a popular pole for Benetton-Renault in 1997.