A bold, but ultimately failed experiment


Renault technical director James Allison describes the team's 2011 contender, one of the more innovative cars on the grid, as a failed experiment.

The R31 offered such high hopes, and podium finishes in the first two races indicated that the French team - as it was then - was on to a winner.

The Enstone outfit took the blown diffuser a step further, relocating the exhaust towards the front of the car, between the chassis and radiator, and then turning it 90 degrees so that it points towards the leading edge of the floor, thereby increasing downforce. As James Allison admits, it was a bold but ultimately flawed move.

"I regard it as a bold, but ultimately failed experiment," says the Englishman. "We were the only team to adopt a forward exhaust layout, and we did so with high hopes, buoyed by very strong wind tunnel numbers.

"We came out of the blocks adequately well, although it was clear from the first test that the delivered downforce was not as high as we had expected.

"The season which followed has been difficult for everyone at Enstone," he admits. "The layout which had promised so much (and which, had it delivered, would have been almost impossible to copy) proved very tricky to develop and had a fundamental weakness in slow corners that has been an albatross around our neck all year."

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Published: 18/11/2011
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