With the Mercedes dominance of last year’s grid so profound and complete, much of the Formula 1 community is wondering if other engine suppliers can recover some of the lost ground, especially considering earlier news that Mercedes was up 50 hp over last year’s unit already. However, despite earlier reservations, Renault is confident in their power unit for this year, which they have just unveiled. They have consumed nearly all 32 of their available tokens, which are allowed to be spent on development throughout the entire year now; this means that they will not be able to develop the power unit appreciably throughout the year, since most of their tokens are spent.
Of note, the engine does not make use of the Mercedes split turbo design which proved so revolutionary in the 2014 season; the compressor and turbine can be visibly seen sitting right next to each other in the rear of the engine.
Renault technical director Ron White gave extensive comment regarding the new power unit and its upgrades:
“We have made some fundamental changes to gain performance and reliability. We have upgraded every system and subsystem, with items that will give the most performance prioritized.
The principal changes involve the internal combustion engine, turbocharger and battery. The ICE will have a new combustion chamber, exhaust system concept and variable trumpets, as permitted by the 2015 regulations. The compressor is more efficient, while the energy recovery systems are able to deal with more severe usage.
The 2014 unit was already well placed in its center of gravity, however we have tidied up the packaging to give greater ease of integration into the chassis. Additionally many systems and functions have been rationalized and simplified to further ease the task. In short, there are very few carry over pieces between the 2014 and 2015 power units.”