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Renault reveal 'fundamental' changes to 2015 power unit

28 Jan 2015

Renault have achieved a 'fundamental' overhaul of their Formula One engine ahead of the 2015 season, as they bid to reduce last year's performance deficit to Mercedes.

Managing director Cyril Abiteboul said sweeping changes have allowed Renault to make significant progress over the winter in terms of both reliability and performance, with the French manufacturer now targeting upwards of the three victories they scored in 2014.

“Viry needed a refresh. We did not suffer from a lack of resources or finances in 2014, it was simply that the resources were not joined up in time or used to their optimum," Abiteboul explained.

“We knew what we had to do over the winter and we know what we have achieved. We believe we have made a very big step in performance and will be more reliable. In the short gap between seasons we have taken a number of steps forward.

“We do not know where the others will be: we may not have erased all the gaps, but we are confident that we have gone a long way to making up the deficit of last season. Our objective is to close the gap as much as possible and give Red Bull Racing and Scuderia Toro Rosso a more competitive car on most circuits, independently of their characteristics and sensitivities."

Rob White, Renault chief technical officer, said Renault's 2015 power unit will be substantially different to their 2014 version, such has been the extent of the changes made. Engine manufacturers are allowed to change up to 48 per cent of their power unit for the season, using development 'tokens' as permitted by governing body the FIA.

“We have made some fundamental changes to gain performance and reliability. We have upgraded every system and subsystem, with items that will give the most performance prioritised," White said.

“The principal changes involve the internal combustion engine, turbocharger and battery. The ICE will have a new combustion chamber, exhaust system concept and variable trumpets, as permitted by the 2015 regulations. The compressor is more efficient, while the energy recovery systems are able to deal with more severe usage.

“The 2014 unit was already well placed in its centre of gravity, however we have tidied up the packaging to give greater ease of integration into the chassis. Additionally many systems and functions have been rationalized and simplified to further ease the task. In short, there are very few carry over pieces between the 2014 and 2015 power units."

In addition to such changes, Renault have also overhauled their staffing structure. White, in his capacity as chief technical officer, will now work alongside Jean-Paul Gousset, who has been appointed as organisation performance officer.

A development department has been newly created and will be headed up by Naoki Tokunaga, who is also responsible for overseeing the engineering department. Director of operations Remi Taffin will also take on an expanded role, overseeing all factory operations in addition to his existing track operation concerns.

“We have implemented a new organisational structure [with] numerous of changes," Abiteboul added. “F1 constantly moves forward at a very fast rate. The sport evolves, technology evolves and the competition never sleeps so Viry needs to evolve at the same rate. It is still very early to see the direct effects but all the changes are made for long term gain. We should start to see the full impact in development by the mid-season with greater flexibility, dynamism and efficiency across all our operations.