Renault see much improved 2016 engine with Ilmor help

Wed Dec 16, 2015 9:29am EST
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(Reuters) - Renault tripped themselves up this year in the rush to improve their troubled Formula One power unit but 2016 should be much better with the added assistance of Ilmor engineering, operations director Remi Taffin said on Wednesday.

Reviewing the French engine manufacturer's season, their last before returning as a constructor after taking over Lotus, Taffin said the first test of 2015 had revealed the extent of the problems.

"We genuinely thought we had done a good job," he told the Renault Sport F1 website. "It was the case in certain areas, but we were caught out in three principal ways."

Taffin listed them as a significant reliability problem with the pistons, a malfunctioning part inside the power unit electronics and taking last-moment decisions on development.

Renault's under-powered and unreliable engine had been eclipsed in 2014, the first year of the V6 turbo hybrid units that replaced the old V8s, by dominant Mercedes who won both titles.

"We wanted to make up the gap so badly that we pulled the rug out from under own feet," he said.

"But this particular cocktail of problems did allow us to learn a lot and make sure that the same issues will not reoccur in the future."

Renault provided engines to Red Bull and Toro Rosso this year and will again supply two teams in 2016, with Lotus switching from Mercedes while Red Bull's unit will carry Tag Heuer branding.

Ilmor, the performance engineering company with decades of experience in Formula One and IndyCar, has been drafted in to assist.   Continued...

The logo of Renault is displayed from the ceiling of an exhibition hall during the Brussels International Auto Show January 22, 2015.  REUTERS/Yves Herman