Renault R31 exhaust, Valencia, 2011

Renault’s radical front exit exhausts pictured

2011 F1 testing

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The Renault R31 has been pictured sporting a radical exhaust arrangement.

The R31’s exhausts point out of the front of the sidepods, directing hot air underneath the car to improve the performance of the diffuser.

See Craig Scarborough’s article on his site for an explanation of how the exhaust works.

2011 F1 testing

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Images ?? F1 Fanatic and Julien Leroy / If you wish to use these images please contact F1 Fanatic to request permission

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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134 comments on “Renault’s radical front exit exhausts pictured”

  1. Wow, I was wrong. Alright, for their sake I hope that this system doesn’t significantly reduce engine power or cause other issues. Very interesting idea…

    1. That can’t be the only exhaust pipe, otherwise the engine would fail, especially in high temperatures, probably it’s a secondary pipe blowing to the front for some kind of effect on the diffuser, but they still have the normal exhaust pipes at the rear.

      1. They can’t have more than 2 exhaust pipes (1 left, 1 right) as the rules are specific about the number of exits.

    2. “we’re on the brave end of brave” no kidding!

      1. also keith, I think you may have the jump on all the other F1 press on this story! congrats!

  2. I don’t know why I don’t believe in this system, I’m guessing it won’t work as they expected

    1. Wow, awesome. Your “guess” against months of sophisticated analysis using advanced technical methods by the best engineers in the world.
      I wonder who’s right…

      1. Haha snap. It’s like when my girlfriend goes ‘naaaaah’, when I tell her something will or won’t work. Then she finds out I’m right… Every time :)

        1. Hahaha – sorry Luigis but you were asking for that one, most amusing!

      2. I didn’t realise they’ed borrowed so mclaren guys, where did you read that?

  3. I really doubt it will work as well as they think it will.

    1. Because you have much more experience than them?

      lol, I don’t think I’ve ever seen you write a positive comment.

      1. I think its a fare comment, it will be hard to get it to work… and they didn’t get much running, read into that what you will.

      2. @SirCoolbeans.. according to your logic none of us should post anything on F1, considering that we have no F1 experience.

        Well I post what I feel like posting.. not positive, happy or inspirational comments. If you want that .. go watch some motivational speaker talk.

  4. Now this all seems technichally interesting and innovative, but is it actually going to make the car go significantly quicker, or is it just innovation for the sake of it?

    1. I suppose it does have its troubles, if not this, than why did Petrov spend the largest part of the morning in the garage?

      Curious to find out weather it works for them, other teams will have their work cut out to replicate that with the packaging, heat, engine tuning etc. to make it work.

      1. Maybe the guys from McLaren are now busily shaving the radiator and fitting and cutting to get a similar system able to fit on their car before launch so they can work on introducing it 2nd :-p

    2. Do you think anything an F1 team does is just for the sake of doing it?

    3. DeadManWoking
      1st February 2011, 16:32

      It’s going to have a far greater effect on performance than the livery or the driver’s helmet colors! 8)

    4. Well, I suppose it’s better to try something revolutionary than to rest on your laurels. Something average isn’t going to get you to the front…

  5. ***?If it works FIA it´s going to receive lot of crying letters.LoL. Wanna know the exactly purpose.

  6. Peek-a-boo!

    Well that secret didn’t last long did it, I think teams will wait to see the (if) any benefits before furiously scurrying around and copying it.

  7. Anatoly Nechaev
    1st February 2011, 14:12

    Julien, how does it sound?
    Some say it’s awful…

    1. This was on youtube, and it may just be me but it sounds a bit rough.

      1. Thats the R30, the car has a shark fin in the video, plus thers two of them, and only one R31 on track in valencia.

        1. Good point, so it was just me, LOL. It would help if I could read.

          1. I also found it earlier, and failed to notice that it’s not R31 xD

      2. That’s last year’s R30 in the video.

  8. Anatoly Nechaev
    1st February 2011, 14:14

    BTW, nice diversion with the orange stripes 8)

  9. I fail to see how having your exhaust there holds any advantage performace wise. Anybody think they know??

    1. The idea is, it blows the whole floor to get air speeding up and make the underbody more efficient.

      See explanation by Craig Scarborough, he is great at these things.

      Great in detail pics, you and Julien get the scoop on this together with ScrabsF1!

    2. Maybe it doesn’t work at all and Renault just want to waste everybody’s time trying to copy it

      1. Lol, that would require some very Bahar think.

  10. wonder if directing the exhaust opposite to where the car goes affects the performance of the engine. Specially going fast…

    1. Anatoly Nechaev
      1st February 2011, 14:37

      Actually it’s facing back.
      Look closely, front is on the left, back (where exhausts are facing) is on the right.

      1. oh, i got it now. You’re right.

  11. I think because of letting it leak that easily the benefits aren’t that high or seriously questionable. On the other hand you can test it only on track and nowhere else so maybe Renault had no choice.
    Very clever solution, but my less knowledgeable mind doesn’t leads me to see serious benefit here. Isn’t it too long for exhaust pipe or too long for gases to travel to place where they actually generate downforce? I think there’s more to that in the floor design, but that’s the bit that’s very well hidden.

    From the day one of testing this season shapes up bloody nice!

    1. They could try out that exhaust in wind tunnel.
      As for the gases, they might be sucked out by the pressure created under the floor (i think)

      1. They could test it only by putting real car with a real engine in a tunnel and i’m not sure Renault has 1:1 wind tunnel.

        CFD much more likely, but CFD needs to be proven on track even more than numbers from a wind tunnel do.

        1. Isn’t 1:1 model testing banned anyway?

          1. is it? i can’t quite recall. if it is, then it must come from RRA, not the FIA rules

          2. DeadManWoking
            2nd February 2011, 2:19

            a)iii) four one day aerodynamic tests carried out on FIA approved straight line or constant radius sites between 1 January 2010 and the end of the last Event of the Championship. Any of these days may be substituted for four hours of wind-on full scale wind tunnel testing to be carried out in a single twenty four hour period.

            h) With the exception of the full scale testing permitted in 22.1(a) above, no wind tunnel testing may be
            carried out using a scale model which is greater than 60% of full size.
            i) No wind tunnel testing may be carried out at a speed exceeding 50 metres/second.

            No 1:1 wind tunnel testing except

    2. Homogolation? I’m not sure that you could change something significant as this quickly. One thing I’d expect is reliability problems, ala Red Bull when they first brought in the EBD.

  12. See only if F1 could get back to things like this, but to do with engine configurations etc. Even im staring to get tired of the contant chase for aero, and this is all about aero. Thank god for the pull/push rod suspension I suppose, and good luck to Renault if they can get it to work properly.

    I wonder if this what McLaren have been extending the lead time to perfect?

  13. I think it’s a risky idea, but I don’t know enough about it yet. I hope it works out for them, but there are some heat related issues, which can cause a variety of troubles.

  14. Ha love the comments from some above openly doubting the system when they havent:

    a) Seen any plans
    b) Don’t know the purpose
    c) Haven’t the experience of designing an F1 car (well certainly not this years as you would be busy now!).

    1. Anatoly Nechaev
      1st February 2011, 14:45

      Isn’t a goal of public forum like this to discus, criticize and brainstorm such ideas?

      Even if we don’t poses “experience of designing an F1 car” doesn’t mean we don’t have any knowledge in physics and aerodynamics.

      1. @ Anatoly

        I don’t think he means we don’t have an idea about aerodynamics, because most of us do have a rough idea. He means to say that the people designing these cars aren’t in it for no reason.

        If the car’s a flop and the system proves to be a failure, then yes, we can shoot the concept down.

    2. Yeah there will alway’s be experts, and their ‘ideas’ and ‘thoughts’ are perfect, and we shall her them… Ofcourse we shouldn’t doubt their opinion, they know better than the mechanics from Enstone for sure!

    3. My thoughts exactly… it’s like when the very first pictures of the car launches come out and immediately people give their VERY STRONG opinion that the car either sucks or will blow away the competition… silly, really.

      1. I didn’t see “very strong” opinions about this. People have doubts, and I think some of these doubts are reasonable. We will see. I hope it works for Renault, as I want their drivers to have a car they can push to the limits and fight for the ultimate prize.

        1. I don’t think that reasonable is the apt word – reasonable as based on what? which way the wind blows? tea leaves? hunches based on nothing but hunches? I haven’t seen any technical reasons given – because no one here knows more than what their eyes tell them, and when it comes to internal workings, that amounts to nothing at all.

          Everyone’s entitled to their opinion, but it’s fun when they’re at least mildly informed and based on at least a hint of tangible knowledge.

          1. Longer exhaust piping with more bends equates to more resistance (back pressure) that can cause reduced power and decreased fuel economy to compensate. The increased downforce will have to be worth the trade-off to make it worthwhile, and I hope that it is.

          2. Maciek, contrary to what you believe some people here are quite familiar with technical aspects of motorsport. There are engineers watching F1, imagine that. The fact, that you don’t know understand potential shortcomings of such solution, doesn’t mean that everyone is just as ignorant.

            Keith pointed you to an excellent Craig Scarborough’s analysis of this innovation. This should give you at the very least a basic idea.

            Yes, we don’t know the internal workings, but we can imagine what problems Renault engineers were facing when they had to figure them out to create an efficient design. It is not easy.

            And sometimes even F1 engineers don’t get it right. I could list numerous ideas that didn’t work out in Formula One, although they were thought out by very smart people. There are doubts over this, and I agree with Ben – these doubts are not baseless. And the fact that Renault spent most of today’s session in the garage certainly doesn’t help to clear these doubts.

            I wish them all the best. I hope this solution works and I know that it can work. Right now I reserve my judgment until I see more.

          3. According to Adam Cooper, Renault suffered from brake line leak. The team confirmed it


            Please don’t jump into conclusions.

          4. @MaroonJack
            All you say is well taken – but of course the many, many comments I was referring to had nothing at all like arguments or knowledge to present, but just poo-pooed the idea in the space of a few syllables without suggesting any reason for it, which got simply under my skin. I meant no offence to anyone with interesting things to say…

    4. George,

      People that say that you can’t comment on anything unless you have experience with it are making an asinine point. If you don’t have kids, and see a parent beating their child senseless would you accept their response if they said ‘you don’t know what’s it like being a parent’? I doubt it.

      1. Speaking of asinine points, how did you work child-beating into this? Aside from the example, sure you make valid point, in theory – but in fact, no one here knows what’s going on inside that Renault – so how does saying “I don’t think it’ll work” amount to anything other than “bah-humbug”?

        What is it about Renault and Kubica that seems to get the automatic skeptics out in droves?

        1. I was illustrating the absurd by being absured—just because we aren’t engineers doesn’t mean that we can’t comment on technical developments. Perhaps I just shouldn’t have jumped to a nuclear example.

          I’m not against Kubica; he has really impressed me—especially last year’s near error free season!

          1. All’s cool, Argent, I wasn’t implying that you were being overly critical – just the overall impression I’ve had since last season. Thanks for the info on exhaust above – it’s certainly more than I knew : ) although if you look at where the engine is placed in these cars, routing the exhaust beneath the sidepods might not require either more length or more ‘bends’ than the standard solution, depending on how it’s done…?

        2. Mac,
          I get a bit over zealous with examples sometimes, so it was fair of you to pounce on that.

          Regarding the bends, I’m assuming the Renault did everything in their power to get the exhaust pips as straight a shot to the front as possible; however, my concern with the bends is the primarily rooted in the size of the fuel cell and the placement of the KERS batteries (if applicable). The team will want to have the fuel cell as low as possible to keep the center of gravity equally as low, but if we are to believe that they are fairly straight the exhaust pipes would undoubtedly run past the fuel cell en route to barge board / front sidepod exit. Therefore, my feeling is that they are run in an elongated curve that follows the curvature of the sidepod floor in effort to keep it away from the fuel cell. With this method, the only abrubt change in direction would be the exit. Perhaps Renault have solved any back pressure problems by using the front splitter to direct and accelerate the airflow down the inside of the barge boards in front of the outlets to assist with drawing the exhaust gasses out of the system.

          If this actually works effectively, I really hope that the FIA doesn’t jump all over this to ban such a unique, innovative solution. The only argument that I think could be made to ban it is because the exhaust outlet looks like it is split in half, and it could be argued that this, in effect, creates four outlets–Article 5.6 explicitly states that there can only be two exits. Though what I’m seeing may just be some kind of directional vane that doesn’t go much further than an inch or two.

          1. Took my non-technical mind some concentration to work through that, but I think I can visualise what you mean fairly well. Hmm, would love to get my little hands on their blueprints, that’s for sure…