Kimi Raikkonen, Lotus F1 Team
Hockenheim is another ‘engine’ circuit, with over two thirds of the lap taken at full throttle. Having good top end power is important down the long straights but you also need good traction and rear grip for the twistier sections at the end of the lap. It’s positive that both of these are characteristics of the Renault RS27. I’ve had four pole positions which shows my speed on German soil, but six retirements haven’t been what I wanted. But with the car we have this year, we’ve shown that we can be fast and race well... there’s no reason why we shouldn’t be fighting for another podium.
Rémi Taffin, Renault Sport F1 head of track operations
The Hockenheimring in central Germany is an interesting challenge for Renault. We visit the circuit once every other season so we only have data from two years ago to work with. In two years the chassis design moves on considerably, as does the way we use the engine within the chassis, so we have to rely more on simulations than we would at tracks we go to on a yearly basis. It also means that Thursday and Friday are busier than usual since we have to conduct checks to validate the dyno and sim calculations.
The characteristics of Hockenheim are actually pretty similar to Silverstone. The track is very flat, there are long straights that demand good top end power, but there are also several different speed corners that require the engine to work well across all rev ranges.
We will be re-using the same engines from Silverstone across most of our partners to optimize our pool of engines before the summer break. After we come back we have Spa and Monza where engine power plays a much more important role so we prefer to use fresh units there rather than in Hockenheim where the power sensitivity is not as critical.
Also of note this year in Germany is the weather. Normally we would experience very hot ambient temperatures, but this season we expect the weather to be cooler, around 16 — 20°C as opposed to closer to 30°C. It does not change the way we operate the engine, but it does mean we have to pay particular attention to tuning the engine correctly. It should be an interesting event.