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Renault to use strategic grid penalties?

NEWS STORY
04/03/2018

Inevitably, with drivers limited to just three engines over the course of this year's 21 race schedule, those that already have an eye on their reliability in previous seasons are considering their options.

As a result it comes as no surprise to hear that Renault, which suffered more than its fair share of failures last season - just ask Red Bull or Toro Rosso - is considering a strategy for its own team whereby it takes grid penalties at tracks where it expects to struggle in order to ensure its competitiveness at others.

"I don't want to say too much about it at this stage, because it's still early days," said Cyril Abiteboul, according to ESPN. "But we knew this regulation was coming and we know what we had to do, and we are still a bit open-minded about the best way we want to cover the season.

"In particular, we are not assuming that we want to downgrade the performance potential of the engine because of reliability because of mileage," he added.

"We are also looking carefully at the evolution of the sporting regulations in terms of grid penalties," he admitted. "You may know that this has become a bit more flexible, a bit less painful, so we will factor that into the way we are building the plan for this year in terms of engine introduction and possible engine penalties if we have to or if we think that this is tactically in our advantage to do so. But it's too early days to talk about that."

Asked to clarify that this meant the possibility of starting a couple of races from the back of the grid in order to ensure strong performances at the remaining races, he said: "I'm accepting and recognising the fact that in Formula One you need to optimise. You need to optimise potential. And if it's better for everyone to use four power units, four ICEs rather than three, we may take that decision, but it's really too early to talk about that.

"First I want to see where we are sitting in the pecking order in terms of mileage, in terms of reliability, in terms of performance against what we've measured on the dyno, and also the priorities that will be set between Enstone and Viry for the Renault team which is what we are doing the most."

Admitting that much depends on what is learned from pre-season testing, he said: "We want to establish the baseline. We want to know a bit more about ourself, a bit more about the performance of the engine as it is right now.

"We want also to learn more about the car, about the competitiveness, where the other teams are. That's another thing that will factor into the debrief in the aftermath of the test, and from that point onward we will plan for the remainder of the season including in terms of the number of power units we want to use, in terms of potential of development and so on.''

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by Canuck, 05/03/2018 16:29

"I think most teams will do this as there certainly a performance advantage to a new PU, especially the ICE. If you look at Lewis use of a new engine in Brazil last year, you surely see the benefits and the performance advantage of this. With only 3 engines, it also means extra races where the driver and engineers will go into engine management/preservation. This year each ICE must do 2 extra races per unit - 7 vs 5 last year, and we already saw how it really took away from the true racing. If a team thinks they will not be competitive in a race but think the next race suits their car well, go for the penalty, take the hit by bot running flat out and preserve the engine for the next race. But then what do I know - I don't get strategy pay"

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2. Posted by Motorsport-fan, 05/03/2018 9:06

"Re Tombstone, If any team was not to play ball it would be Mercedes with there seemingly bullet proof reliability, but if every engine manufacturer has issues, would be an interesting option 3/4 the way through the season. "

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3. Posted by Tombstone, 04/03/2018 21:06

"Motorsport-fan: great in theory, but do you honestly expect ferrari to play ball?"

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4. Posted by Motorsport-fan, 04/03/2018 17:26

"Whats to stop the engine manufacturers getting together and all the teams taking a 4th engine at the same time? how would the grid penalties work then, be an easy way round this rule."

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