Renault's head of engine operations Denis Chevrier explains that after one race with the new one-engine regulations, teams are still assessing exactly where the perfect balance lies... The Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne gave a first answer...
Renault's head of engine operations Denis Chevrier explains that after one race with the new one-engine regulations, teams are still assessing exactly where the perfect balance lies...
The Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne gave a first answer to the many pre-season question marks about engine usage and reliability: in common with its typically low mechanical retirement rate, the race saw just two engine failures, and teams completed an average of 1080km during the weekend with the two race cars (with the race length of 307.5 km), meaning the full race distance equated to approximately half the weekend's total mileage for each car. Renault completed a total of 1225km with the two R24s.
"Among the teams without a third driver, we at Renault completed the highest mileage along with Williams at the last race," explained Chevrier. "However, I believe the mileages we saw at Melbourne will prove to have been at the conservative end of what we will see this year."
In what ways, then, might engine usage change as the season progresses? "Here in Malaysia, we are still adjusting to the new format, but I think we may include up to a dozen extra laps in future races." However, working practices will remain flexible to take account of different parameters that come into force at different races.
"Our usage of the engines will obviously change according to how well we know the circuit, and how demanding it is for the engine: in Bahrain, for example, we can expect to do a few more miles in order for the drivers to learn the circuit, and so that we can tune our engine mapping and other finer details."
For all the possible variations, though, the teams' objectives will remain constant. "Regardless of the overall mileage, you can be sure one thing will stay the same," concludes Chevrier. "Every team's aim will be to prepare as thoroughly as possible for the race, whatever changes in working practice this may imply."