Renault plans engine push to beat development freeze

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Renault F1 engine chief Remi Taffin believes that the impending engine development freeze will be a good thing for the sport and for the Alpine F1 team.

All of the sport's power unit suppliers agreed the move as a cost cutting measure, and to allow Red Bull and AlphaTauri to continue using legacy Honda engines when the Japanese manufacturer bows out at the end of 2021.

That's forced the other engine suppliers to adjust their strategic approach to development over the next few seasons - and Taffin says that it may end up benefitting his team.

He said they would be bringing forward developments originally planned for 2023 to beat the introduction of the freeze next year. Among the planned changes are adopting a split turbo and compressor approach in the style of Mercedes.

"The '21 engine was not actually driven by what's happening in '22 or '23," Taffin explained.

"The decision we have made back in 2020 was driven by the fact that we would actually put everything on '22, having in mind that we would have another revolution in '23.

"We could make the best out of the new baseline we had for '22, which is now not the case anymore, because we haven't got '23.

"But actually we're quite happy," he insisted. "We can have actually a big push for '22, so we are even pushing further forwards some of the evolution we had for '23 into '22.


"It's been a different game," he acknowledged. "But all-in-all, if we look at the long game I think that's not a bad decision we had a year ago."

Engine development was also frozen in 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic, with teams having to catch up with their planned changes during the winter once the season was over.

"We implemented the modifications we forecast for last year mid-season into this year," Taffin confirmed. "It's more of an evolution that we would have in season at races rather than over winter.

"Obviously we had then put our focus on '22, but at the same time over the winter we did the validation of our '21 engine," he continued. "We're basically set up for race one.

"I'm hoping that what we've done is enough to preserve the reliability we got last year, which gave us a good baseline and obviously a bit more performance from the evolution I just mentioned."

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