Renault - Status quo will remain

Wednesday 21-May-2014 09:15

Renault has played down suggestions that this weekend's Monaco Grand Prix will be the best chance of the season to beat the high-flying Mercedes team.

After enduring a tough start of the season, the Renault-powered Red Bull team has emerged as the 'best of the rest' behind Mercedes, which has won the first five races of the 2014 season.

While some - most notably Fernando Alonso - believe the twisty Monaco street circuit will negate Mercedes' power advantage, Renault's Head of Track Operations Remi Taffin believes Mercedes remains the team to beat.

"Just before we came to Spain people were saying Barcelona is a chassis track and less about performance of the engine, but it's still the same gap to Mercedes," Taffin said during an exclusive interview with Autosport on Tuesday.

"If you look two or three years backwards, Mercedes has done two pole positions in Monaco so we must admit Monaco is a good track for them.

"I don't think it's going to change anything, and to be fair we should not rely on whether it's Monaco, Montreal or Monza, we just have to be better.

"If we do pole in Monaco it won't be a measure of where we are.

"Just because it's a specific track does not mean there will be a big change in the rankings."

Taffin added that, naturally, the pack will be bunched up closer together due to the layout of the Monte Carlo street circuit and that the short straights means energy recovery is of less importance.

"The main challenge will be exploring some new areas in the engine," Taffin added.

"We're going to be running outside the normal scope - low revs and stuff like that.

"This will affect driveability and that will be challenging because driveability will be key - we need to make sure the driver is trusting his car managing the torque.

"Energy recovery is not going to be a problem because full throttle is only going to be about 30 seconds [per lap].

"There's not going to be problems releasing energy from the batteries, there's not going to be any 'clipping' of KERS, we won't have any fuel limitation because it's only a 250km race, so there's not going to be any lifting off.

"Fuel is going to be free, energy's going to be free, qualifying's going to be easy on that side, energy management is going to be put aside, and we will have to concentrate on the actual V6 turbo for maybe once in the year."

Nevertheless, Taffin believes the F1 cars it powers could be boosted by about 10bhp due to a new fuel which makes up part of their latest updated to their power units.

"We have yet more software upgrades to introduce following a successful test in Barcelona, which further improved the driveability and reliability of the systems," he continued.

"Likewise we have been working with our partners, Total, to trial a new fuel that should deliver in the region of 10bhp more than before - a significant increase."

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