Bell: 2007 Renault a genuine step forward 24 Jan 2007
Last years championship-winning Renault R26 was always going to be a tough act to follow, especially given the freeze on engine development and the move to a single tyre supplier for 2007. However, Renault technical director, Bob Bell, and the teams deputy managing director (engine), Rob White, are both confident the new R27 is up to the challenge.
Finding performance under stable regulations always obeys the law of diminishing returns, but our technical group has worked hard to innovate and ensure that the new car represents a genuine step forward over its predecessor in every area, said Bell, at the car's Dutch launch on Wednesday.
The aerodynamic packaging is even more sophisticated than in previous years, while the gains from our new gearbox have been significant on track. We have kept the mechanical configuration of the suspension consistent in order to understand as thoroughly as possible the demands of the new Bridgestone Potenza tyres. We made a successful start to the adaptation process in the latter stages of 2006, and this will continue up to the first race.
The new Renault is powered by the 2.4L V8 RS27 engine, which has been designed to the requirements of the engine homologation regulations which will be in force for 2007 and beyond. Conceived to limit expenditure on engine development, these rules specify that no performance improvements can be made to the engine relative to the definitive specification that will be submitted to the FIA by March 1, 2007.
The R27 engine is based on the RS26 V8 engine that competed in the Chinese and Japanese Grands Prix last season, and has been re-tuned - in line with modifications permitted by the regulations - for the new maximum rev limit of 19,000 rpm that will be imposed on all competitors.
Our work for 2007 has been very different to previous years, revealed White. Rather than designing a new engine, as we have done every season since 2001, the regulations have limited our work to optimising how the engine operates within the new 19,000 rpm rev limit.
Our development work has been conducted within the framework of the new rules and although the engine will be called RS27, it contains just 10 percent new parts - compared to over 95 percent in previous years. However, it remains one of the most advanced competition engines in the world, operating in an extreme environment, with tiny margins for error.
As always, our goal will be to achieve the only acceptable objective for a top-line Formula One engine: zero-defect reliability. We have worked hard to blend this with competitive performance for the season ahead.
With the R27 yet to test head-to-head against other teams 2007 machines, it remains to be seen if Renault can retain the form that saw them win eight Grands Prix last season. However, Bell insisted the team are in bullish mood.
Everybody is expecting an extremely competitive season in 2007, and we are confident that our proven track record of world championship success will prove a considerable asset in that battle, he added. The team is hungry to continue winning, and the R27 reflects that determination.