Rob White, the Renault F1 Team's engine technical director, talks about the team's performance ahead of the Hungarian GP. Q: Rob, how has the RS25 been performing this year? Rob White: We are pleased with its performance. We approached the new...
Rob White, the Renault F1 Team's engine technical director, talks about the team's performance ahead of the Hungarian GP.
Q: Rob, how has the RS25 been performing this year?
Rob White: We are pleased with its performance. We approached the new regulations in the right way: the engines are producing less power than an equivalent one race engine would, but we are continuing development in every area. It's not easy, but we are making good gains. Since the start of the season, we have only had one engine problem with Giancarlo in Bahrain. That's one too many, but still a good record.
Q: Reliability has played a key role this year...
RW: It's true. We have had to double the life of the engine, and that was a big change for the engine-makers. Some have done a better job than others with the regulations, but it's worth noting that a large number of the engine failures this year have happened during the first race of an engine's life. That shows that in general, the engine manufacturers have responded well to the reliability challenge.
Q: Some people have said you have had some lucky wins -- what is your view?
RW: I completely disagree. Our results this year are the result of a sensible strategy. A race lasts from the first to last lap, and Fernando has been the best at that exercise six times this year.
Q: So was reliability a key factor in the engine's design?
RW: It is a priority in the sense that there is no point having the quickest engine for just twenty laps. Having said that, concentrating solely on reliability doesn't make sense either -- there is no point designing an engine that could last for ten races. The difficult thing is finding the correct balance, to decide on the limits and not exceed them. It's not something that gets fixed definitively during the winter -- it's a process that never stops, because the limit is always moving.
Q: Did you adopt a conservative approach to the design of the RS25?
RW: No, not at all. We evaluated the risks and tried to respond to the situation as well as possible. I think we have been quite daring in a number of areas.
Q: How does the engine's performance compare to its rivals?
RW: Two years ago, we were clearly behind in this area. Today, I don't think there is any doubt we have a competitive engine.
Q: Is it easy to make mistakes and compromise reliability?
RW: It is a very fine line. Engine performance is the product of numerous small decisions, rather than two or three big choices.
Q: Are there still developments to come on the RS25 even though the 2006 engine is a V8?
RW: Of course. We want to fight to the very end of the season, and our development programme is in place. We will be sticking to it.