Brazilian Grand Prix: Point of view of Operations director

Rémi Taffin, Director of Operations, explains the Autodromo José Carlos Pace circuit.

Last year, we were a little nervous going to Interlagos on account of the altitude and the effects on the turbocharged power units. However, having had one year of experience and the Mexican Grand Prix last week we know that the parts can cope with the main issues. Every challenge we had in Mexico – high turbo rotation, cooling, downforce levels, long periods of wide open throttle – we see in a lesser degree in Brazil so the test seems less stern by comparison.

Our workload this weekend will be high as we will introduce our new PU specification. The improvements, which include an upgraded ICE, were available in Austin but the weather conditions meant we would not have been able to get representative data. We expect to run from free practice on Friday and complete as many laps as possible to cross check the findings from the multiple dyno runs conducted at Viry.

Of course we will be pushing for good results to end the year, but the on-track performance improvement will be moderate. The main objective is to give direction for the next phase in development and create a good baseline going forward into the winter.

Renault 2015 Fast Facts

  • The weather in Brazil can be very changeable, ranging from hot and dry to very rainy. More often than not, however, the conditions are humid as the menacing rain clouds gather over the hills and the long range weather forecast for this weekend is on and off showers. The combination of the heat, rain and high altitude drastically reduces the air density so to produce the same power the revs will be a lot higher.
  • To combat further loss of power, engineers may use richer engine and fuel mixes. There are fewer risks involved in doing this at Interlagos than normal since the lower ambient pressure gives the internals of the engine an easier life.
  • As in Mexico, the wing levels will look like high downforce settings, but the drag produced will be relatively low due to the lower air density. The choice of wing is not immediately straightforward since engineers will want to generate grip in the twisty Sector 3 but not compromise straightline speed on the pit straight.
  • The first corner of the Interlagos track is famed for its spectacular overtaking opportunities as cars outbrake each other through the off camber left hand turn that also drops sharply downhill. It is a major challenge for the PU as well as it is the only time in the season when they will be at such a sharp incline. The lubricants in the engine internals move suddenly to the left, which can move the fuel or oil away from the pick-ups of the pumps, which can be momentarily starved.
  • Renault engines have won nine times at Interlagos, with René Arnoux taking the first win in 1980. Nigel Mansell won in 1992, with Schumacher, Hill and Villeneuve taking victory from 1995 – 1997. Red Bull Racing Renault was victorious in 2009, 2010, 2011 and again in 2013.