Renault: Party mode ban a trade-off

Date published: August 26 2020

Daniel Ricciardo Renault.jpg

Renault’s engine technical director Remi Taffin isn’t too fazed by the FIA’s ban on ‘party mode’, saying it will be a trade-off for all the teams.

Earlier this month motorsport’s governing body wrote to the teams informing them that as of the Belgian Grand Prix they would no longer be permitted to change engine modes between qualifying and the race.

That means ‘party mode’, the turning up of the engine for Q3, can no longer be used.

The ban was subsequently pushed back to the Italian Grand Prix, giving the teams a further seven days to work on their engine modes.

The ban is expected to be hit Mercedes the hardest with the Brackley squad believed to have the best ‘party mode’, helping Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas to a clean sweep of this season’s pole positions.

It will, however, hit all the teams although Ferrari has stated that they don’t play with the modes for qualifying.

As for Renault, Taffin isn’t expecting any major drama, saying it just means the teams will have more power in the race and less in qualifying.

“On paper it won’t be too difficult,” he explained.

“We will adjust the ratio between qualifying and the race.

“The rules, so far, said we could run modes differently between qualifying and the race and, as always, we try to optimise the rules.

“Now the FIA has given us a new directive to be applied from Monza onwards, so we’ll try to adapt, reoptimising and validating the area where we need.

“It’s the same work, just a different output.

“We’ll have less power in qualifying, and more power in the race, so it’s a new trade-off.

“We understand the concern of the FIA and we will work alongside them to achieve their request.”

Daniel Ricciardo Renault.jpg

Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff expressed a similar sentiment at the Spanish GP when he was asked whether the FIA ban would hurt Mercedes.

He too reckons it just means better engine performance during the grands prix.

“I think we don’t lack performance on Saturdays,” Wolff said. “We had quite a margin until now.

“We struggled in some of the races where we were quite limited in powerful engine modes, and if Formula 1 were to ban in-season, certain power unit modes, then I think it will actually help us in the race.

“If you can avoid damaging your power unit in those few qualifying laps that you have available, in Q3 and then the odd lap in the race, the damage metrics go down dramatically. So, five laps of qualifying mode not being done gives us 25 laps of more performance in the race.

“You must take into account even if it may hurt us more in qualifying — which I’m not sure, and it’s a couple of tenths — then it will hurt all the others in the same way.

“But we are always very marginal on what we can extract from the power unit, and if we were to be limited in qualifying modes, then, well, we will be stronger in the race.”

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