Renault has dismissed suggestions that Mercedes’ current advantage in Formula 1 is down to its use of a radical split concept on its turbo engine.
There has been speculation that Mercedes made a significant performance gain by opting to have its air compressor and its turbine on separate ends of the engine. That design was said to help reduce turbo lag for improved efficiency, as well as help with the car’s aerodynamic packaging. But Renault engine chief Rob White played down the advantages of the Mercedes concept, and revealed that the French manufacturer even considered such a route before electing to keep its compressor and turbine together.
“It’s [the split design] something that is significantly different, but it is not one we have seen as being a game-changing advantage for Mercedes, or indeed a significant handicap for us,” said White. “It’s not like it’s something we didn’t think of, or when we saw it we said, ‘Eureka, that would have been a good idea!'”
White was adamant that there is nothing fundamentally wrong with the design of Renault’s current power unit. Instead, he reckons that its early season struggles are simply the result of it playing catch-up in development terms following troubles that were exposed when it ran on track for the first time.
“We haven’t got anything in the engine that we think is insurmountable, in time, bearing in mind there are sporting restrictions and the real world development restrictions,” White added. “We’ve got some significant things which are work in progress, and we’ve got some significant things that will be available in the future [when the homologation freeze is lifted this winter.]
“I guess the clever thing is to harvest as much as we can from the opportunity to change the spec.”
Renault’s head of track operations Remi Taffin believes that the design of the French car manufacturer’s engine could yet prove to be the best once it reaches its full potential.
“I don’t think there is anything wrong and, to be fair, when we will be winning a race maybe it will be the choice to make,” he said. “There could be one of the components that is a bit weaker than the opposition, but I am quite happy with what we have got at the moment.”