Renault to run 'party mode' in Austria


While Mercedes and Ferrari have both taken full advantage of the engine setting which essentially 'goes up to 11', Nigel Tufnell style in qualifying, users of the Renault power unit could previously only look on in envy.

However, as the French manufacturer's upgraded power unit heads into its third race weekend - having been introduced in Canada - Cyril Abiteboul confirms that the so-called party mode will be available to the works team (natch!), Red Bull and McLaren.

Revealing that the mode was tested but not actually used in France last weekend, Abiteboul tells Autosport: "As we've always said, there are a number of differences due to the fact that there are different types of fuel in the cars. But we've discussed it now, and all cars are getting exactly the same treatment, as we've always done, as we are bound by the regulations.

"It's great news that we are capable of introducing a new qualifying mode, which is making an impact for the first time," he added.

"I didn't want to create any expectation or speculation until it's been approved," he admits. "We tested it on track, we didn't run it, but we had to test it on track, just to make sure of driveability. It's part of the validation programme. Now that it's been validated it's going to be available for all three teams.

"We needed a bit more time, due to the fact that we had to homologate it on one fuel and then the other fuel," he revealed referring to the fact that Red Bull uses a different fuel to both Renault and McLaren, a move which the French manufacturer claims has compromised the effectiveness of the units in the Red Bulls, "but it's going to be available for the first time on all three cars in qualifying, on both types of fuel."

Asked specifically about Red Bull, he said: "We love them, we want them to do extremely well, we think they have a chance to be world champions this year, and this is really bringing something nice and extra. Between 'spec B' and 'spec C' will also be a big improvement.

"But we also need to stay focused on reliability, as we've seen. That's why we are extremely cautious when we bring an evolution on track."

Whether Renault loves Red Bull or not, previously Helmut Marko had claimed the works Renault team had engine modes not available to his team.

"The hardware was the same," he told Autosport. "The engine control was not.

"In a 'very nice' conversation with Renault we clarified that from Austria we will get the same updates as the factory team," he added.

Last week, Red Bull confirmed that from 2019 it will be switching to Honda power.

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Published: 29/06/2018
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