Rémi Taffin, Renault Sport F1 head of track operations:
The Nürburgring is a medium speed track with an average speed of around 190kph. The four long straights require good top end power and we will work carefully on the selection of the top gear ratios since seventh gear will be engaged four times a lap, a higher than average usage. This high speed is however balanced out by a mix of low speed corners, such as turns 1 and the chicane where the cars will run between 75 and 95kph. As a result the engine has to be driveable through the lower revs but also offer responsiveness and strong power.
One other factor we particularly need to consider is the high altitude of the track. The circuit is set in the Eifel mountains, and has an average of around 700m, only marginally less than Interlagos. The quantity of oxygen in the air is therefore less and atmospheric pressure is also lower so the engines will be slightly less powerful than at sea level. There is one advantage however in that the demands on the engine are less severe, so we will tend to use an engine on the third race of its life.
Track conditions can change a lot over the weekend at the Nürburgring. Even though the circuit is used frequently by other motorsport formulae over the year, the fact Formula 1 only visits once every two years means that grip is initially very low. As a result we will run less aggressive engine maps at the start of the event to allow the driver to be smoother on the throttle and fine tune towards a more aggressive mapping as the grip improves.