Renault accept engine upgrade debuted in Brazil failed to hit mark
Red Bull's supplier says it will analyse data from updated V6 and "adjust our development strategy accordingly"
By James Galloway
Last Updated: 17/11/15 2:03pm
Renault has admitted its upgraded engine failed to deliver at the Brazilian GP - with the manufacturer to now work on ways to improve the unit's performance.
Following a near-season long wait for the engine maker to spend some of the 12 development tokens it started the season with, the upgraded engine Renault had been working on for several months was finally raced at Interlagos last weekend.
The updated unit was fitted into Daniel Ricciardo's Red Bull car, triggering a 10-place grid penalty for the Australian, but the driver was left underwhelmed after he was outqualified by team-mate Daniil Kvyat, whose RB11 was still equipped with the older unit.
"We've seen it hasn't really given us anything to be honest. So obviously back to the drawing board for Renault," Ricciardo remarked on Saturday night before finishing 11th from the back row on race day.
Renault itself has now accepted that the new engine did not hit the required mark.
"The engine ran reliably, but unfortunately it did not deliver the expected improvements in performance," said Remi Taffin, Renault Sport F1's director of operations.
"All the same, the reliable running ensured we gathered a lot of data to analyse how we can move forward to the final race of the year and going into the winter."
Renault's role in F1 for 2016 has yet to be confirmed, with the company still in the process of buying back the Lotus team and also realigning its engine supply relationship with Red Bull.
Despite the disappointment of Brazil, Cyril Abiteboul, Renault's F1 managing director, says the run-out for the engine was still invaluable for future performance.
"It was crucial, however, for us to do this to gather as much information as possible for the next stage in our development plans," the Frenchman said.
"The upgrade ran reliably but we must now look at the data accumulated from the weekend to establish its full performance potential, and adjust our development strategy accordingly."
The future of the fractious Red Bull-Renault relationship is thought likely to become clearer at the season-ending Abu Dhabi GP next week, with the parties understood to be closing on a deal to continue their partnership on revised terms for 2016.
Christian Horner confirmed in Brazil that Red Bull had taken the first step towards ensuring their F1 future by formally entering next year's World Championship and were "homing in" on a solution for their long-running engine crisis.
If the continuation of its relationship with Renault gets the green light, Red Bull are thought likely to run unbranded engines in 2016 with embellishments designed by engine guru Mario Illien, who has been working at the team's Milton Keynes factory in the last year, bolted on to the basic V6 engine block.
Renault, meanwhile, continue to evaluate its prospective Lotus takeover to re-establish the company's own works team.
Don't miss the F1 Midweek Report for analysis of the Brazilian GP and all the latest F1 news. NBC's F1 reporter Will Buxton and journalist Peter Windsor join Natalie Pinkham on Sky Sports F1 at 8:30pm on Wednesday.