Renault confident it can get closer to Mercedes in Spain
Renault is confident it will make another step forward with its power unit at this weekend's Spanish Grand Prix as it introduces its next stage of software updates.
After a slow start to the season, Renault has been playing catch-up to Mercedes under the new V6 turbo regulations but has been introducing software updates to narrow the gap. Red Bull, one of four customers of Renault, is relying on improved engine performance to help close in on the dominant Mercedes, and Renault is confident of delivering a boost this weekend.
"The Spanish Grand Prix will be the second stage of the performance evolutions we kick-started in China," head of track operations Rémi Taffin said. "While there are not many visible hardware upgrades, there are significant improvements to the software that should further enhance driveability and therefore overall performance. Yet again we have also moved forward in energy management and efficiency so we are hopeful our upward trend will continue in Barcelona."
Taffin believes the characteristics of the Circuit de Catalunya combined with Renault's updates may prove that the difference in performance between the Renault and Mercedes is not as big as it looks after the first four races.
"The circuit itself is one of the medium demand tracks. Despite not visiting the track this year in testing it is primarily straightforward to prepare and we don't expect any surprises. With three weeks between China and Spain we've made a huge amount of progress and in fact this race may well show that the 'engine race' is a lot closer since it is much more representative of the average characteristics of the majority of tracks in the next part of the season.
"It is relatively easy to recover energy in Barcelona, thanks to the tight corners such as Turn 10 and the chicane where the driver will brake heavily. Both will give the MGU-K a chance to recharge while the long pit straight allows the MGU-H not to drain the battery fully. With a variety of different speed corners fuel consumption isn't expected to be a major problem here."