Rémi Taffin says Renault’s B-spec engine is worth “around half a second per lap”, with the upgrade set for introduction at next weekend’s Monaco Grand Prix.
The French manufacturer initially planned on having the evolution ready for the Montreal race next month but positive early feedback at last week’s Barcelona post-race F1 test has encouraged Renault to give its new engine an early debut.
“The current power unit used since Australia has had several smaller upgrades and all the drivers were very happy with the standard in Spain,” said Taffin.
“In parallel, we’ve been working on the new spec since the start of the season but needed to sign off all the parts for reliability and mileage before using on track. The tests were very positive and showed it to be more powerful and driveable.
“We had originally planned to use the new version in Canada when the current units are scheduled to be removed from the cycle, but if we can get the units together and completely validated by Monaco we will use the ones available at this race.”
Explaining how the upgrade will propel Renault’s works outfit and customer team Red Bull forward, the engine technical director added:
“The power unit we have used since the first race in Australia was really a continuation of the work started in the ‘Spec D’ power unit we introduced at the tail end of 2015, said We explored some concepts in that earlier iteration and the 2016 unit took them further, for example in the turbo.
“This new spec goes even further down the line and also includes significant modifications to the combustion system. It will make the ICE [internal combustion engine] more powerful but also efficient, leading to a gain of around half a second per lap. We’ve used a small proportion of our token allocation for this upgrade.”
Motorsport.com reports that Renault will only have one B-spec engine available for each team it supplies in Monaco, with both outfits yet to decide which driver will receive the upgrade.