Daniel Ricciardo says it probably isn’t worth taking a grid penalty in order to be able to use Renault’s upgraded power unit this weekend.
Red Bull and Toro Rosso have the option of using Renault’s newest version of the Energy F1 power unit, but as their drivers no longer have any penalty-free engine changes left they would incur penalties for using it.
“It’s available if we want to use it,” said Ricciardo in today’s FIA press conference, “obviously that would mean a penalty though”.
“We’ve got to understand if it’s worth it. Last I heard it’s not massive so from my understanding is it is probably not worth taking it.”
“I think we’re down such a chunk that I don’t think we’re going to gain enough in the short time to make it up so if we start from the back I don’t think we’re going to make the ground we need.”
“Right now I’d say we are probably less likely to take it. That’s about it. Hopefully today they’ll tell me the difference and we’ve found a bigger chunk of horsepower from it but I think realistically there’s not a whole lot.”
Ricciardo feels most of the gains the team have made with the car this year has come from the chassis rather than the power unit, but believes their qualifying performance is still a weakness.
“The car’s good and I was surprised to hold Valtteri [Bottas] and Kimi [Raikkonen] off for as long as I did [in Russia],” he said.
“Once they caught me I thought I wouldn’t have stayed in front a long. There was definitely some nice little surprises, I think, in Russia. It has progressed, for sure, the power unit, but I think the car has really come alive and yeah the grip we have through all those sort of tight, twisty bits is really good.”
“I think this circuit will suit us more. So I’m hoping we can be more competitive here. It just seems, yeah, qualifying we don’t really have that one-lap pace but then the races we seem to be a lot more competitive. If we can somehow start towards the front then I think we can stay there.”
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33 comments on “Renault upgrade “probably not worth taking” – Ricciardo”
22nd October 2015, 18:33
these guys are doing themselves no favors slating Renault
22nd October 2015, 18:47
Yes, they all should be bowing down to Renault and lying to everyone about how great their engines are and the commitment Renault have has made to this new formula has been terrific. Their progress on improving the engine has been lightening fast and will give them huge gains in the face of their meak competition who couldn’t develop a paper bag.
22nd October 2015, 20:34
they should just leave
23rd October 2015, 12:28
22nd October 2015, 20:42
Almost seems that their public attitude toward Renault has been from the beginning cover for an exit. After all what professional race team would put themselves in a position whereby they have no engine supplier? No, any exit has and continues to be the only explanation.
23rd October 2015, 2:17
I think its possible too, stranger things have happened
22nd October 2015, 21:01
I never thought RBR guys are fools, quite the contrary. However, at the moment, I’m having a hard time not to start thinking they might be. Definition of the word fool says: “a person acting in a self harming way”. That’s exactly what they are doing now. I can still remember Ferrari folks expecting small performance improvement after the winter. We all know what happened. In my opinion it would be utterly foolish not to test that PU. We’ll see…
22nd October 2015, 18:35
I have to agree with Ricciardo, but is it his decision to make? I assume he has influence but I wonder who makes the final decision.
Its a tough decision, the opposite argument could be that this upgrade can be taken through its paces as a determination for a 2016 engine like the other 2 have done, and to determine its state of reliability. So tough call, feel for who ever has to make that decision.
22nd October 2015, 19:18
Translation: “The season is lost, we don’t want to do any testing for them to use next year, oh Renault are really bad in bed and have stinky breath and a tiny crankshaft”
22nd October 2015, 23:50
Seriously, some of the anti-Red Bull stuff appearing on this site these days (in comments) borders on parody.
This is a simple case of weighing the benefits and disadvantages of taking the new PU.
On the benefit side, Autosport is reporting that the lap time gain from the upgrade is estimated at 0.15s per lap. Over the course of the race, this equates to about a 9 second gain, before accounting for the time loss in starting at the back of the grid and then having to work through the grid.
If you’ve ever looked at any race charts, you’ll note that it’s common for a fast car starting at the back of the grid to lose 10 seconds to the front runners on the first lap alone, thanks to the concertina effect. Personally I’d be amazed if a 9 second gain from a power increase was ever worth going to the back of the grid, unless you got very lucky with safety cars.
There’s another factor affecting this weekend’s race – the wet forecast. Any seasoned F1 watcher knows that wet weather reduces the power effect, so the relative gain to the Mercedes and Ferrari powered cars would be reduced.
Also, when you start at the back of the grid, you tend to run a low downforce setting to make overtaking easier. But of course a low downforce set up is the exact opposite of how you want to run the car in the wet.
I never thought that Red Bull would run the upgrade at this race, and Ricciardo’s comments come as no surprise.
Mexico, with its long main straight, might be chance, but we will see.
It’s a shame that people can’t apply a little reasoned thinking before reflexively resorting to another tedious Red Bull bashing.
23rd October 2015, 0:08
Not bordering on parody, actually was outright parody :)
My comments not meant as anti Red Bull really. In all honesty Renault finally showing up with a development this late in the season is of no use to them, why would they be interested in using it, incurring a grid penalty and providing Renault with data on what they’ve come up with. It’s not going to change Red Bulls position in this years championship and just helps a competitor for next year.
23rd October 2015, 11:44
That’s also a possible advantage. In a wet race, they could have a better chance of moving forward, and it’s a lottery anyway. If it works out, they have a better engine for the next race.
22nd October 2015, 19:18
Maybe Ricciardo thinks it is better to run Flinstones car version engine in 2016 then to work things out with Renault with upgraded engine because they still have valid contract fir 2016 as i recall? They will never catch Williams in constructors so i am not sure what he is whining here about upgraded engine is not worth a shot to try out and take penalties.
22nd October 2015, 19:20
for* 2016. They could use their contract if still valid for 2016(nobody said it’s not valid?) and look for another partner in 2017 or try to develop own engine.
22nd October 2015, 19:35
Ricciardo is getting really annoying. First when he thought there was an open seat at Ferrari he wanted to jump ship from Red Bull. And all through the year he kept slating Renault. I don’t understand why can’t he just shut his mouth and do his driving?
I wouldn’t be surprised if he felt he deserves the Ferrari seat more than Vettel or Hamilton’s seat at Merc. He and Red Bull are made for each other they both think they are entitled to something instead of just trying to work through any temporary set backs.
Look at Ferrari they are taking the engine penalty, i am sure this is more of politics from Red Bull because they want to get out of F1. If you ask me i can’t wait for them to get out.
22nd October 2015, 23:37
? You’re seriously asking why drivers who get hounded and hounded with questions all week before a race, all weekend of a race before and after each session, on the grid before the start, during the race if they retire, in the paddock after the finish and then in the days following leading towards the next one, don’t just shut their mouths and drive? I’m sure they’d love the chance!
23rd October 2015, 0:40
Kvyat is also in the same position but you don’t hear him say that Renault engine is not good, i don’t trust them, the upgrade is not worth it etc etc… It is about giving a little bit of respect to the people you are working with. He talks as if he is a big shot.
23rd October 2015, 2:53
The media ignores him, mainly because he has the personality of a dead fish. Ricciardo got in the spotlight last year through his victories, so now the media chase him for quotes and questions. He’s simply more interesting, so is quoted and reported on more. I didn’t see Kvyat on Top Gear either. The guy is an absolute bore. On the track, too.
22nd October 2015, 19:46
It would be so not Red Bull to run an engine just to help the engine manufacturer. Who have brought it for a reason, I assume, to learn from running it after spending 11 tokens.
Stephen Crowsen (@drycrust)
22nd October 2015, 19:46
I think they should take the upgraded engine. We don’t know what the upgrades are nor how they affect overall performance, but it wouldn’t be an upgraded engine if it didn’t have some advantages over the old engine. Tokens were used to make this new engine, so one can expect these upgrades to remain in place until there are more tokens available. Yes, there are penalties involved, but those penalties last for one race, and then after that they will have 3 races left in which they will have the benefit of the better engine and the benefit of shorter life expectancy. Yes, they will have to take a drop in the starting grid placings for this race, but that puts them amongst poorer performing teams, so they should be able to dominate that part of the grid.
Another point about this upgraded engine is someone has paid for it, so there will be pressure from the accountants that it be used.
Lastly, if Red Bull don’t use this engine then what have they got to argue with Renault about? Renault can say “But we sent you a more powerful engine, and you refused to use it”.
Duc Pham (@ducpham2708)
22nd October 2015, 20:02
Okay, so just after Newey thrashed Ferrari and Mercedes on public news now Ricciardo slates Renault like this.(Yes, saying an upgrade is not worth taking is an insult, even if it’s true he didn’t have to talk about it. And Red Bull not helping Renault test its 2016 PU is a deal breaker for next year.)
What are they even thinking? Horner, Newey, Ricciardo, Marko,… They are making every single engine manufacturer in F1, par Honda, their foe. And then be a crybaby and whines about how they can’t compete with a bad engine.
Ferrari and Mercs are not supplying them, and now they’re cutting the last ties with Renault. Well good bye Bulls, you won’t be missed.
22nd October 2015, 20:35
Absolutely bizarre bit of politics this again.
At this point Renault seems to be their only option if RBR actually would want to continue in F1. So then, why would they not try out these engines to see if Renault actually can deliver something useful for 2016? At the very least on one car.
Renault spent 11 tokens on it and on the dyno it reached the “targets”. Who set those targets then?
It’s not like they are in close competition for their spot in the constructors championship either They are way ahead of FI and way behind Williams.
Besides, they would be able to benefit from this engine for the last 4 races. It’s not just one race left.
But yeah, that depends on the idea that RBR actually wants to fullfil their contract in F1 and it’s become more apparent that they don’t. They seem to be looking for a way to get out without a lawsuit. ie deliberately burn all bridges and then plea “force majeure”.
Stephen Crowsen (@drycrust)
23rd October 2015, 1:33
That is exactly right! The path Red Bull took to get to this point has been entirely predictable and totally avoidable.
There are reports in the media quoting Mr Ecclestone as saying he will take Red Bull to court if they don’t turn up at Melbourne next year. Mr Ecclestone is a very clever guy, and he wouldn’t say that sort of thing unless he has an iron clad contract in his hand. He has a habit of making money, lots of money too, so my guess is Red Bull would end up paying him big time if they don’t turn up at Melbourne with a 107% rule race compliant car, and there is no way they will do that if they don’t have a contract with an engine supplier.
One problem that I can foresee is the lack of a current 2016 engine supplier means Adrian Newey won’t have a known weight and size and power of an engine and hybrid system and gearbox to use when he is designing the chassis, meaning he will have to at least consider using a combination of the largest and heaviest and most powerful aspects of all the current engines, meaning the 2016 chassis won’t be designed perfectly for the engine, hybrid, and gearbox they finally run with.
22nd October 2015, 21:17
I don’t get why people freak out over this. It’s a real dilemma: take penalties or take a slight improvement in PU performance. The decision will be made based on performance numbers delivered by Renault. If the theoretic gains aren’t big enough, Red Bull won’t run the engine. No evil about it, Ricciardo’s comment is perfectly fine, nothing nasty about it.
That aside, I think Red Bull should run the PU in at least one car no matter how much performance or lack there of is expected. It will give important answers to both Red Bull and Renault. Actually, the fate of both of the companies could hang on this new engine: if it’s good, Red Bull might just consider to continue with Renault next year and see out their original contract. If not, they’ll surely leave the sport – and Renault with them. For Renault to spend up to 12 tokens (rumors say 11) and not gain much performance would be a strong indicator their engine program just isn’t working, and they should pull out rather than invest.
22nd October 2015, 21:23
Yes I agree, once again people are slating a driver just for speaking their mind (very reasonably as it happens), instead of spouting PR garbage.
If I were them I’d probably take a new engine for Brazil as it’s the most likely race to be able to make up places.
Iestyn Davies (@fastiesty)
22nd October 2015, 23:02
Sounds to me like Renault hit their ‘revised’ target of 10-15 hp, if Red Bull CBA using it. They did spend 2 million on a new cylinder with the help of Mario Illien, estimated at a 45 hp gain, only for Renault to say, “thanks, but no thanks – we also have a 45hp upgrade coming”.
However, it was then revised down to 10-15 hp. Maybe now that Renault have produced this, RBR have decided that if it will cost them a penalty to use, “thanks, but no thanks. Only if an engine fails”.
All that said, I still expect Red Bull to be using Renault engines next year, unless they pull out, in which case 2015 Mercs will have to be pulled out for RBR, as STR have the 2015 Ferraris, and Honda are incapable of supplying two teams.
Iestyn Davies (@fastiesty)
23rd October 2015, 17:37
Spoke too soon, now in talks with Honda, Bernie making it happen, and 7 extra tokens for next year to smooth the deal for Honda catching up in development.
23rd October 2015, 2:58
I’m still highly doubtful that Red Bull will pull out. I mean, they sponsored Sauber for about ten years to get the brand in, then established not 1, but 2 teams, built a young driver program, and established the highest budget on the grid. I doubt they’d throw all that out over an engine dispute that could be resolved in a year. I believe the threat is an attempt to get leverage with Bernie to force a supplier to give a parity engine.
23rd October 2015, 3:59
Red Bull should take the new engine when they are ready and not before.Ricciardo and Kvyat have already been penalized for surpassing their engine quota.
No doubt they will both be having to take at least one more engine before the end of the season so why take a new engine when you don’t have to.
23rd October 2015, 4:43
My guess is that Daniel is reading from the script he was given as drivers statements (even in press conferences) are heavily scripted by the team media people.
That said – he’s said nothing we don’t already know. RBR will have to weight the advantages agains the penalty of starting from the back.
Renault have not given any public indication of the expected performance improvement but have admitted its not as big as they had originally targeted. I’m sure once they sit down with Renault and go thru the numbers, a rational decision will be made on the basis of:-
1) the performance gain will easily outweigh the penalty. OR
2) they’ve agreed to supply and use Renault PU’s in 2016 and want to get a head start on 2016 testing.
23rd October 2015, 7:31
They can use the new engine in 1 car and play it safe with the other car. But i think they are safe in their 4th place, Force India won’t be able to catch them.
23rd October 2015, 9:17
That would be normally a weird decision for not taking the new engine. Considering this year championship is already over for them, and using new parts means earlier and more testing for next year. But then again this is Red Bull. Maybe they are really confident they won’t use Renault next year after all what happened, but this kind of behavior (some could see it as actively hindering the engine development) won’t make good impression on whoever engine manufacturer they will approach. Of course if they already signed a contract with another supplier for next year then its logical not to take the new engine, but as far as we know they still don’t have it.
23rd October 2015, 15:16
If Seb was at RBR next year he’d have probably named the car Wilma
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