Teams running Renault power in 2018 will hopefully get a boost in qualifying as the manufacturer works on delivering a special engine mode which its rivals already have.
Renault’s progress on the engine front has put its power unit almost at the same level as Mercedes and Ferrari, at least on race day.
In qualifying trim however, their ability to release extra power at will puts both teams out of reach of Renault which cannot resort to such a scheme.
“The problem with qualifying is we don’t have the high power modes that our competitors have. I am sure there is close to half a second in that,” said Red Bull Racing’s Christian Horner.
“We could see in qualifying [in Malaysia], there wasn’t a single corner where our car was slower than our opponents.”
Renault Sport F1 boss, Cyril Abiteboul revealed however that the manufacturer’s Viry-Châtillon engine department is currently working on improving its engine’s output in qualifying, but also overall.
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“We are not doing any other steps than trying to do the best we can for having a competitive engine next year, but not just competitive, because we believe that the engine is already competitive,” he explained.
“It is certainly very competitive on a Sunday, but there is clearly a bit missing on Saturday in qualifying. We don’t have that sort of ‘magic’ qualifying mode, but we are working hard on it.
“The performance of the engine will improve very sensitively for next year, not just for qualifying, but also for the race, which makes me believe that the engine will be extremely competitive.”
Abiteboul insisted however that any increase in performance would not be detrimental to reliability, a weak point for its engine this season.
“The focus has to be reliability,” he said.
“You know, we’ve lost a lot of points this season because of lack of reliability of the whole package, which to me is directly related to the fact that the team is changing very quickly.
“We are growing, we are recruiting lots of people. When you do that, it is typically reliability that is impacted. That will be the first thing to fix for the short term future.”
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