Renault downplay ‘party mode’ reports

Renault has played down talk of a “party mode” engine boost at this weekend’s Austrian GP, saying while they have a small improvement, it is not in the same league as that of Mercedes’.

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Although Renault has closed the gap to Mercedes and Ferrari, they are still falling behind on Saturdays where both rivals have the ability to launch a “party mode” power boost during qualifying.

Renault, though, is taking steps to close the gap in that department as well but have played down the impact of their latest engine upgrade.

“I’m not quite sure I’d describe our qualifying opportunity as a ‘party mode’ in the same league as what was previously run by other engine manufacturers,” chief technical officer Bob Bell said.

“No, we have some improvements to the engine that come on a race by race basis, we’re always finding new ways with these engines to operate them to find a little bit more performance.

“I think Renault has been a little bit behind the curve on that but we’re starting to pick it up now and we’ve got a small improvement but it’s not night and day stuff.”

Bell added that Renault now has “more confidence” in running their engines at their most power setting for several laps have tested it on the dyno.

“It depends what mode you’re talking about. There are some modes that we can develop over the course of the season that will be available to us on all laps.

“Some you might only want to run them for two to three laps so you’d only use them in qualifying and those limitations can themselves change over the course of the season, so as we get more confidence in a new operating mode, as we get more validation data from the track and dyno we may open out the mileage restrictions on them so we start conservative and then open the window.”

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