Renault will look to introduce an upgrade to its power unit “as late as possible” due to the restrictions on new components in 2018.
Having been allowed to use four of any component during last season, this year those limits have been reduced to three of the internal combustion engine (ICE), MGU-H and turbocharger. On top of that, only two of the MGU-K, energy store and control electronics are allowed for the full season, limiting the amount of performance upgrades that can be introduced without penalty.
Renault allowed its customer teams to use more power over one lap at the Chinese Grand Prix, and managing director Cyril Abiteboul says an improvement in race performance from the hardware will have to wait for an upgrade.
“Yes, absolutely [there was a step], but it’s more in qualifying than in the race,” Abiteboul told RACER of the performance boost in China. “So that’s something that maybe helped everyone on Saturday but that’s not in the race. The improvement in race trim will come a bit later in the season, in particular with power unit number two.”
Asked if the second power unit was likely to be introduced in Canada, Abiteboul replied: “As late as possible.
“Equally, I want some performance as soon as possible but obviously with the sporting regulations you want to introduce your power unit number two as late as possible. But before that we will be able to talk a little bit more about fuel and these types of things, because you can change fuel so that may be coming a bit earlier than that.”
With Red Bull team principal Christian Horner claiming a spare power unit was not ready for his team after Daniel Ricciardo’s turbo failure in FP3 in China – something he attributed to a shortage of spare parts at this stage of the season – Abiteboul clarified: “No, there is absolutely no shortage.
“No, no, no. We are just making sure to have the best parts available when we fit an engine into a chassis. Let’s be clear, we were not expecting to have any particular problems at this point of the season, that’s why sometimes it requires a bit of juggling around between the different customer teams; but we have done that precisely to make sure he has the best hardware currently available.”