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7 Oct 2015

Renault went into the 2015 season having spent only 20 of their 32 tokens allowable for the season.  Had Red Bull and Ferrari been unsuccessful in lobbying the FIA to allow in-season development, owing to the missing homologation date within the technical regulations, those 12 tokens would have either been left unspent or left them rolling the dice on a powerunit specification that may have been worse than what they have.

Whilst the other manufacturers have made use of their remaining tokens throughout the season (Mercedes in Italy - 7, Honda in Canada and Belgium - 2 and 3 respectively (5) and Ferrari in Canada and Italy - 3 and 3 respectively (6)) Renault have yet to spend any of the 12 tokens they have remaining.  The manufacturer had initially targeted the Russian GP as the first time we would see a modified unit, with them likely to spend all 12 in one hit.  This was latterly delayed until the American GP, but now it appears in a story released by this morning that the new powerunit will be delayed even further.

In honesty I am far from surprised, the less than acrimonious seperation of Red Bull from the engine manufacturer has left somewhat of a bad taste in the mouth of the latter and whilst Red Bull are eager for additional performance, Renault have to think about themselves.  Furnishing Red Bull and Toro Rosso with a new specification of powerunit at this stage may well be counterproductive to their long term objectives as they once again become a 'Works' team and manufacturer.

As the relationship between the two was already on the teetering point it seems that Red Bull's patience run out and the vitoral that they had been spewing about their partner intensified, leading to the inevitable rift becoming a separation.  Armed with the information about the manufacturers true defecit to their rivals it seems Red Bull saw no alternative but to cut and run, seeking out a new partner.  Meanwhile, with Renault investigating their options on a return to 'works' status they began a programme of self preservation.

12 tokens can change a lot of components but they need to be the right ones, the problem therefore lies in the execution of the spend.  It has been suggested that Renault were intending to spend their 12 tokens in one batch on the ICE, forsaking the other components and suggesting that Renault made some poor design decisions from the outset.  This is backed up by the installation of Mario Illien (Ilmor) at Viry by Red Bull, back when the relationship between the two could be saved.  Mario and his team worked on a parallel design to the Renault staff, creating a single cylinder prototype and presenting the results to both Renault and Red Bull alike.  Although pleased with the assistance that Ilmor provided, Renault dismissed the prototype and continued to develop their own, something which no doubt further angered Red Bull.

The 12 remaining tokens will now likely be spent at the one but last or last race of the season as Renault look to their plans for 2016.  Whilst you'd assume a 12 token spend should come with significant gains, given the strides Ferrari have made throughout 2015 with just 6 tokens, it could be argued that Renault will likely compromise the 2015 powerunit for better gains in 2016.  Meaning that the units supplied to the Red Bull teams could be down on power even further than their current counterparts.


  1. Is it just me, but does this points system make it virtually impossible, if Mercedes use their points effectively, for the others to narrow the performance gap ?

    1. Yes, and you could even argue that since Mercedes are further down the development road, their points are even more effective, but what are you gonna do? Force Mercedes to stop development?

      While it doesn't sound at all fair, F1's survival is at stake.

      The V8 days were VASTLY more fair and tightly regulated.

      The F1 stalwarts, McLaren, Williams, etc .. none of them build PUs, yet it's only these teams that keep F1 alive. Mercedes will walk away when the board thinks they've done enough in F1, which I imagine will happen within about 7 years from now.

  2. I am beyond disgusted with Renault on so many fronts in this whole PU thing.

    First Renault advocate for it and get what they want, but totally miss the mark.

    Second they couldn't even produce a PU that would even allow it's teams to even make a single race pace lap in pre season testing.

    Third, Red Bull saved them by spending it's own resources to write software and fund development and help get the damn PU to live.

    Forth, all teams dropped the Renault PU, save Red Bull, whom were made "special advisor" or some such .. still paying for PUs but presumably with some input towards development.

    Fifth, Red Bull spend effort to get a loophole so Renault could improve the PU over the 2015 season.

    Sixth, the Renault PU this year does allow RB to test it's chassis and aseems respectable in testing.

    Seventh, The production batch of PUs show up in Austalia and are a piece of crap in terms of reliability, power, and driveability.

    Eight, Renault find the problem and state it will take 3 months to fix it. WTF???????

    Nine, Red Bull start making noise about Renault and Renault also accuses Red Bull.

    Ten, Mercedes, in Austria tell the world that they "would supply the whole field if needed" and had no problem talking to RB but not until the contract between RB and Renault was voided.

    Eleven, Renault announce that they will no longer furnish PUs to any teams anymore .. only to it's own team should it enter into an F1 team. They are not allowed to do this .. does anyone care? Nope they don't because nobody wants a Renault PU for anything.

    Twelve, thanks to RB Renault still has 12 tokens to use during the season. They use NONE while every other mfr use them.

    Thirteen, Mercedes renigs on furnishing PUs to Red Bull, now that the contract between RB and Renault was terminated as Mercedes required.

    Fourteen, Red Bull has to go, hat in hand to the only other possible PU source, Ferrari. Again at first Ferrari say they can do it and cite sportsmanship of keeping RB in the sport.

    This PU thing has been and continues to be a bane on the sport of F1. The races are, for the most part walk aways, all the teams are broke due to the crazy costs, and now the PU mfrs run the sport, not the FIA nor Formula 1. That's right .. PU mfrs dictate who gets what and in doing so, who their own works teams have to race against during the season. I will go so far as to say that no independent team will ever win a race if RB are forced out. Not Williams, not McLaren, not Force India, etc.

    PU mfrs now own F1.

  3. Assuming RBR will run the new engine, they may decide to stick it to Renault and say no thanks.


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