Renault Sport Formula One Team previews the seventh race weekend of the 2016 Formula 1 season, the Canadian Grand Prix.

FOREWORD

Cyril Abiteboul

Sometimes it’s best to look forward and not reflect too much on the last race. Monaco was not kind to us this year, with a multitude of issues, so it’s definitely best to focus on Canada. There are a number of reasons we can be optimistic for Montreal: the main one being that both drivers will have the new power unit upgrade for the first time. The PU worked well in Monaco but we should see the full benefit on this circuit, which is much more power sensitive. Everyone is also very motivated to put the blip of Monaco behind us and race in a much more representative position.

 

Q&A with Fred Vasseur

A NEW LEAF

After a Monaco Grand Prix to forget, Racing Director, Renault Sport Racing, Fred Vasseur gives his opinions.

What were the positives from Monaco?

The main positive is that the B specification power unit is working well and gives us good potential for the future. It’s a strong valuable step in terms of performance, both in headline power figures and in driveability. It was completely reliable too, so we are happy with progress there.

 

What is your evaluation of the Monaco weekend?

It’s true that Monaco was not a successful event for us; we left Monte Carlo with a lot of damaged parts, we didn’t finish the race with either car and we scored no points. The race took place in difficult conditions as we saw with Jolyon. Fortunately he was not hurt although the same cannot be said for his chassis.

 

Kevin’s call to change tyres was a good one even if he did get stuck behind Pascal Wehrlein longer than we wanted after the pit stop. His pace was not bad in clear running but Daniil Kvyat decided to end that for us. He was one lap down and it was a completely stupid move. It’s always difficult to have a good strategy in Monaco as you are dependent on what your rivals are doing as it’s so difficult to overtake there.

 

Elsewhere it was a good weekend for Renault Sport Academy driver Oliver Rowland who finished in third position in the GP2 Series Feature race. Another aspect to Monaco was that we generated a lot of interest with the F1 inspired R.S.16 Clio on track, we had a high profile guest in Tony Parker and a lot of Renault personnel were present as the race is the event nearest to being a French Grand Prix.

 

What can we expect in Montréal?

Hopefully a better weekend than we had in Monaco! We approach each race on its own merits so everyone has reset after Monaco and we’ll be looking for the best results possible. Both drivers will have the B specification power plant and we’ll have some new parts to try on the cars too.

 

We will have our Test Driver Nicholas Latifi joining the team to get an insight into how an F1 team works over the course of a race weekend. Nicholas had a strong start to his GP2 Series season with his Barcelona podium even if his weekend in Monaco was more challenging.  He will drive in FP1 later in the year so his weekend in Canada is vital preparation.

 

Q&A with Jolyon Palmer

cool city

Jolyon Palmer looks to a cool city for a strong result

What are your thoughts heading to Montréal?

I was there last year and I realised what a really cool city it is. It’s also one which genuinly embraces Formula 1 coming to town so can’t wait to return. The track itself looks great with good overtaking opportunities. There has been good racing there in the past so it’s exciting to be headed for my first race there.

 

I will get the B spec power unit for the first time. It looked like it made a good difference in Monaco and Canada is a more power-hungry circuit so if it was a positive step in Monaco it should certainly help our cause in Montréal.

 

The new engine mapping certainly looks to have been beneficial and you need good traction in out of the lower speed corners in Canada. It’s got more power too so everything is good in that regard!

 

We should be a good chunk more competitive. We’ll do everything we can to maximise the car around the track and we’ll be pushing all the way as usual!

 

What went wrong for you in the Monaco Grand Prix?

We went over the data and it looks like it was the lower grip as I crossed the white lines of the zebra crossing which meant my wheels span as I pushed to accelerate. The car was pitched sideways and I collected the barriers. It was just the wrong place at the wrong time. I had a bit of bruising on my feet so it was just my ego and the car that had to suffer.

 

 

I have been in Enstone since Monaco, to get some time in the Sim but I did also offer to get the spanners out to help build the new chassis… I’m very grateful for all the hard work that goes in at the track and back in Enstone and Viry and I did more than my fair share of damage to the car in Monaco.

 

Away from the track, Monaco is such a big week and you really feel it afterwards. On Monday night I slept a straight 14 hours to recover; I was exhausted! It’s a really cool weekend, but it’s just so busy! You start a day early then there’s no track running on Friday but all kinds of exciting media initiatives including showcasing the R.S.16 Clio which was cool.

 

Q&A with Kevin Magnussen

Magnussen Magic for Montréal

After an inspired intermediate tyre choice by Kevin Magnussen in Monaco didn’t bear the fruits it should have done thanks to the intervention of a rival driver, our Dane looks to Montréal to show what he has up his sleeves.

 

What do you think of the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve?

It’s a cool circuit with a semi-street track vibe to it. It’s quite challenging in its nature with some rapid chicanes and big braking zones. Overall it’s a quite enjoyable circuit to drive and it usually offers a good race.

 

Any favourites from previous Canadian Grands Prix?

The 2011 race really sticks in my mind where my old team-mate Jenson Button took the victory. That was pretty cool! When you look back there have been plenty of good races there. I was in the points when I raced there in 2014. Let’s hope for a classic this year.

 

Have you watched the Monaco Grand Prix?

Unfortunately I watched some of the race live from the team motorhome after I retired which certainly wasn’t my plan! I haven’t watched the first half as I know what happened to me. We did have potential to move forward and possibly get into the points so it was an opportunity missed. It was a frustrating  after the contact so I prefer to look forward to Canada and beyond.

 

What’s been keeping you busy in preparation for Canada?

Nothing unusual and to be honest it’s almost a routine between races. I’ve been training, I’ve been in Enstone to spend time with my engineers and in the sim and I also get some rest and relaxation.

 

What are your hopes for the Canadian Grand Prix?

It’s a more power sensitive track than Monaco so the latest power unit should have more effect there. Hopefully we have more time to get the set-up dialled-in and make use of the upgrades for the car. If we have a good weekend certainly we want to be fighting for points.

 

POWER UP

Nick chester explains the challenge of montréal

 

What can we expect in Montréal?

Canada is another challenging track. It has a street course feel and it’s another place where we see a lot of track evolution as it’s not used for many race activities other than the Grand Prix. The circuit surface is low grip and it can be difficult to get the tyres into their working range there. Montréal has also presented us with quite a mix of weather conditions over the years, so there is plenty to keep us on our toes.

 

How much benefit does the B specification power unit bring?

It’s a good step forward and we have it in both cars in Montréal. In Monaco we were able to benefit primarily from the improved driveability whereas Montréal is more a power track thanks to its straights following slow corners. This means we should really see the power unit stretch its legs.

 

What’s needed from the car in Montréal?

It’s mainly about braking and traction. There’s a lot of heavy braking so you need to be on top of cooling for the brakes to ensure they don’t overheat and need a setup which has good stability under braking to give the driver confidence. There are some reasonable kerbs at the chicanes so ride over those is also important. You also need strong traction out of the slow corners and good grunt to propel the car down the straights.

 

How much damage was sustained on both cars in Monaco?

Kevin’s incidents mainly damaged bolt-on parts whereas Jolyon’s incident means we will use a new chassis – R.S.16-04 – for Montréal. The car hit the barriers quite hard at an oblique angle which damaged the front of the chassis and since we have a new chassis available it makes sense to introduce it. Fortunately, 04 was pretty far along on its build so we only needed to complete fuel cell installation and wiring for it to be ready for Canada.

 

POWER UNIT

Montreal is the toughest challenge of the year so far for the Power Units. The long straights demand maximum power for just over 60% of the lap. The longest straight on the circuit is the Droit du Casino at 1,064m and top speed will be in excess of 330kph, the highest speed seen this year so far.

 

Nine of the 10 corners are taken at less than 150kph, but each of them is quickly followed by a stab on the throttle. This rapid braking-acceleration sequence calls for accurate power delivery and good turbo response.

 

The hairpins at Turn 10 and Turn 2, plus the chicane leading into the Wall of Champions, are extremely heavy braking points. Engine braking as well as literal braking is necessary to slow the car to a low of 60kph.

 

There aren’t enough braking points on the circuit to allow the K to recover the full FIA allowable amount. This, along with the high fuel consumption at this track, makes for a delicate balancing act during the race to stay within the 100kg permitted fuel load.

 

Energy recovery is easy with the amount of braking points – the 19 corners are all taken at an average of less than 100kph and the MGU-K will have more than enough opportunity to recharge the ES.

Montreal’s demands on the MGU-H are the polar opposite of those of Monaco. In Monte Carlo the MGU-H was barely used; in Montreal the duty cycle is extreme.

 

MEMORY LANE

The Renault V6 Turbo Power Unit scored its first victory at the Canadian Grand Prix in 2014. Daniel Ricciardo won the race by just over four seconds from Nico Rosberg. It was the Australian’s first career win in F1 and the first win for the Red Bull-Renault partnership that season.

 

Hybrid Performance Fact

Using the 82MJ of energy recovered by the Renault/Infiniti ERS during the Monaco GP you could chill 12,415 bottles of champagne, enough for 4,138 podium celebrations!

 

What we’ve been up to…

 

The Monaco Grand Prix weekend saw Oliver Rowland secure his best-yet finish of third with a superb podium in the Feature GP2 Series race and P7 in the Sprint race. There was no GP3 Series or Formula V8 3.5 action in Monaco so most of the other Academy members were spectators.

 

This weekend Esteban Ocon will compete in the third round of the DTM in Lausitzring. The Frenchman will look to open his points scoring account. Sharing the track with him will be Louis Deletraz, who will compete in the ADAC GT Masters championship.