Renault open to design influence from McLaren
Renault says they are open to McLaren having design influence over their Formula One engine, but says the team is unlikely to have any impact until the third season of the partnership.
McLaren has ended its works programme with Honda to become a customer of the French manufacturer until the current set of engine regulations end at the end of 2020.
As Honda’s works team, McLaren had influence over the design of electrical components of the power unit. But now they have become a customer of Renault, the team will now have to adapt the chassis around the Renault power unit.
Over time as the relationship builds McLaren hopes it can have influence over Renault, however, Renault’s F1 managing director Cyril Abiteboul says the deal came too late for the team to have influence over the 2018 engine.
However, he added that Renault would be “open to their suggestion” but cautioned McLaren would probably have to wait until the final season of its initial three-year deal to hold any real sway. He told Motorsport.com “First and foremost, we developed a complete power unit before working with McLaren.”
“So it’s not like with Honda, where Honda was dependent upon McLaren – we have the whole parameters of the power unit under our responsibility. I think we will take it step by step.”
He said it was also probably too late for McLaren to have influence over next years engine as well. But says that e manufacturer would be open to suggestions as the relationship evolves
Fresh clampdown on oil burning
Following the dispute over oil burning and both Ferrari and Mercedes pushing the boundaries last season, the FIA has introduced stricter regulations this season around engine burning.
In late 2016, Ferrari asked the FIA for clarifications go beyond oil burn, suggesting other engine tricks were being used illegally for Mercedes to gain an advantage. The FIA decided that in principle it was against the spirit of the rules, but could not be banned last year.
The FIA did impose a clampdown and limited the amount of oil that could be burnt during a Grand Prix to .9 litres of oil per 100km. Teams will be allowed to burn oil again in 2018, but the amount of oil has been reduced to .6 per 100km.
The regulations now read “Teams must supply the measurement of the oil level of the main tank to the FIA at all times of the event. The mass of oil contained in each oil tank, with the exception of the main oil tank, must also now be declared to the FIA one hour before the start of the race.”
“Active control valves between any part of the power unit and the engine intake air will be banned.” The regulations also say “Teams will be limited to a single oil specification per engine at a given grand prix – which must be declared before the event gets underway.”
This is to avoid teams using a qualifying oil specification for extra power and switching to a different type for the race.
There are also much stricter definitions of what oil should be – with set characteristics to ensure that it is being used purely for lubrication, cleaning and cooling and not for any power boost.
Three engines causes “headaches” for manufacturers – Abiteboul
Renault F1 managing director Cyril Abiteboul says that Formula One’s new three engine limit is a “headache” for teams and manufacturers. However, the Frenchman has not given up hope that the main players in the sport could agree to a late change.
While the 2018 calendar has two more races the teams will be facing a reduction in the number of penalty-free engine and components, MGU-H and turbocharger than last year as part of a sliding scale imposed at the start of the current engine era in 2014 to control costs.
This means that in 2018 one engine needs to last for seven race weekends, a situation which Red Bull boss Christian Horner has already described as “barking mad” at the end of last year.
Abitboul says while Renault is prepared for the change, he believes the change is unlikely to do F1 any favours amid fears drivers will be clobbered with grid penalties even earlier in the season. He told Sky Sports “It’s a headache but it’s a known headache.”
“We knew that it was coming so we have built our plans and strategy accordingly. Right now there is nothing to indicate that we can’t stick to this plan.” He says that Renault will have another go at trying to change the regulations.
While three areas of the F1 power unit cannot be used more than three times in 2018, the limit has been reduced still further for three more elements – the MGU-K, energy store and control electronics. Each car only has a two-unit allocation for these three parts before penalties are imposed.
Last year, seven hundred grid penalties were awarded across the grid, equivalent to thirty-five per driver because of engine penalties. The majority of between Renault and Honda-powered cars.
To avoid a situation where drivers get more grid penalties than the gird, they will be capped at fifteen places with any driver clocking up more than that simply sent to the back of the grid.
Wehrlein to return to DTM
Pascal Wehrlein is to return to DTM this season after he failed to secure a seat on the Formula One for 2018.
Despite an impressive season with Sauber, he was replaced by Formula Two champion and Ferrari junior Charles Leclerc, who will partner Marcus Ericsson for the coming season. Leclerc’s elevation, and Williams’ decision to sign Sergey Sirotkin for 2018, left the Mercedes junior without a drive.
In a statement, Wehrlein said, “I have fantastic memories with DTM, not least because of my title win in 2015, but also because of the strong team spirit and the many nice experiences with the guys.”
“I have followed DTM closely during my time in Formula One and have been to some races to visit and support the team.” The German said he was looking forward to his return.
Wehrlein was considered to replace Nico Rosberg following his shock retirement, but was considered to in experience for the works team.
But his former Manor teammate and fellow Mercedes junior Esteban Ocon has seen his stock rise considerably with an incredibly impressive 2017 campaign at Force India.
Monger returns to single-seater cockpit
Billy Monger who lost both legs in a crash during a Formula Four race last April has returned to single-seater driving. The Englishman lost both legs following a collision at Donington Park, in which it took over an hour to extract him from the car.
The eighteen-year-old has since lobbied the FIA to change the regulations to allow amputees to drive single seaters. On Tuesday, he took part in a test with Carlin at Oulton Park.
Monger tweeted: “Didn’t think this would be possible a few months ago. Long way to go but the goal is getting closer. Thanks Carlin Racing for making today possible.” Since the accident, Monger has vowed to make a return to racing.
Last year, he returned to the cockpit in VW Cup using specially modified steering controls. He confirmed that he will link up with quadruple amputee and racer Frederic Sausset in a scheme aimed at putting three disabled drivers on the grid for the 2020 Le Mans 24 Hours.
The motorsport community rallied around Monger at the time of his incident, with numerous former drivers joining teams and fans in donating to a JustGiving page to cover the medical costs of his accident and subsequent surgeries.