• Belgian Grand Prix

Spa 'the hardest track' for Renault

ESPN Staff
August 21, 2013 « Force India confident of return to form | McLaren wins in 2013 'will be very challenging' »
Cars will be at full throttle for 23.5 seconds from La Source to Les Combes © Sutton Images

Renault Sport F1 head of track operations Remi Taffin says Spa-Francorchamps is "the hardest track of them all" for the engine manufacturer.

The high-speed nature and length of the track at Spa sees the engines at full throttle for nearly three-quarters of the lap, making engine efficiency crucial. Taffin said the circuit is the toughest test of Renault's engines and that most teams will opt for new units for the Belgian Grand Prix as a result.

"Straight after the summer break we go to the hardest track of them all, Spa-Francorchamps: a circuit that gives us the 'most' of everything," Taffin said. "It's the longest, potentially the most changeable weather conditions, but from an engineer's perspective it's the most enjoyable as it's so much of a challenge.

"A massive 70% of the 7km track is spent flat out, equating to almost 5.5km, or the length of a standard F1 circuit. Over one lap the engine will have a total wide open throttle time of over 75secs, making it an incredible test for engines. Outright power and top speed are therefore crucial and any gains will be twice as effective in reducing lap time compared to a less power sensitive track such as Monaco. As a result, almost all our partners will use fresh engines for this race to give as much power advantage as possible."

Taffin even revealed Renault's 2014 engine was being tested at Spa due to the demanding nature of the circuit.

"Even though Monza sees the RS27 at full throttle for a longer time, it is the combination of this wide open throttle with the compressions and steep gradients that gives such an awesome workout. Having the right balance between reliability and top end power is always a juggling act so, for these reasons it's one of the circuits we use as a control circuit. In fact the Energy F1-2014 Power Unit is being put through its paces at Spa as we speak."