Rémi Taffin, Renault Sport F1 Head of Track Operations
The 4.655km long Circuit de Catalunya is a medium downforce, medium engine demand track used extensively in testing as it has a very good ‘average’ of characteristics of other circuits on the calendar. In fact it is currently used in part for our engine sign off process. There are a variety of low and medium speed corners that push the RS27 on the lower rev ranges, particularly in sector three, but 55% of the track is also taken at full throttle.
The longest period of full throttle is of course the pit straight. This length gives the opportunity for a fully charged KERS to be deployed twice as the KERS energy counter resets on the start/finish line. While a double KERS release in the race is useful to overtake, it puts a lot of stress on the KERS cooling system. We don’t think it will be a major problem for us as cooling efficiency is a key element in our package, but it does need to be carefully monitored. Setting up the right top gear in these conditions is then quite a big challenge!
The undulating nature of the track also puts the engine internals under pressure so every element of the engine gets a full workout here. The first corner is quite representative of this as the driver accelerates as the track goes uphill. In addition to monitoring the fluid systems, we also need to deliver a smooth torque curve to give controlled power to counter the high g.
Going into the European season we are very motivated. The Bahrain result was a good fillip – not only did it keep the record of a Renault-powered car finishing on the podium every race this year, it was the first triple podium for Renault engines since Bahrain 2012 and the 50th win for the RS27 V8 unit. More importantly however is the fact we are delivering consistency across our teams. We now need to keep this rhythm and momentum going.