Renault’s Taffin: Fuel consumption could well be an issue in Singapore

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The new fuel consumption numbers for Formula One this year were in the news right from the get-go in Melbourne. Daniel Ricciardo’s disqualification for exceeding the maximum limit was arguably the biggest talking point leaving the event.

While the fuel flow discussion has gone down since, it could well be a major issue in Singapore this weekend. At 61 laps and usually a race time close to two hours, Singapore presents one of the longest races of the season and the fuel numbers will really need to be managed.

Remi Taffin, Renault F1’s head of track operations, explains how challenging this will be for teams to master:

“The ICE and turbo are therefore given an easy time here. The Energy Store and MGU-K, however, are really put through their paces,” he said in an advance release. “Each braking event is long and hard, particularly around the ‘hotel’ section through the grandstands, where the K will be able to recover enough energy to keep the battery at a relatively high level of charge throughout the lap. In contrast, the MGU-H is used a little less as the short straights between the corners do not really offer ample time for the exhaust to develop a steady flow.

“These short bursts of power naturally require good torque response and driveability but they also bring fuel consumption well up. In fact we will use the largest amount of fuel per lap over the season here and we will be right on the limit of the 100kg permitted. To put this in context, last year we used 150kg of fuel – over 30% more. Here, more than anywhere else, shows the advances we have made in efficiency.”

With the Renault’s lack of power by comparison to Mercedes one of the notes of the year, Renault is confident it should be better at this circuit, as it requires less time at full throttle (roughly 45% of a lap).

“Singapore should suit the Renault Energy F1-2014 far more than the previous two tracks. We’ve made good progress in energy recovery and management and these two elements are key to success here,” he said.

Helio Castroneves ‘hustling’ for IndyCar, IMSA rides; talking with four to five teams

Helio Castroneves IMSA IndyCar
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As his season gathers steam, Helio Castroneves said his prospects for finding new rides for 2021 in IMSA and IndyCar also are gaining momentum.

The three-time Indianapolis 500 winner said Monday he is optimistic about landing in either or perhaps a combination of both series when Team Penske and Acura end their DPi partnership after this season.

“A lot of people I spoke with, four to five teams, are interested,” Castroneves said. “Whether it’s doing Indy 500 only, whether it’s pushing to do full time or do the sports cars as well. It’s been a very nice conversation.

LOOKING AHEADTeam Penske drivers seeking new rides for 2021

“I have a lot of respect for all the teams that have been talking, and I feel the same feedback. We just have to wait for their (sponsor) connections, and I’m also looking for some connections on my side as well, so hopefully we’ll be able to put this together and get something very soon.”

Given two decades of success with Penske in IndyCar and IMSA, Castroneves’ resume hardly needs burnishing. But the Brazilian has combined with co-driver Ricky Taylor in the No. 7 Acura DPi to win the past two overall victories at Road America and Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.

But Castroneves, who doesn’t have a manager, said he has been working the phones hard rather than wait for the strong results to bring in the calls.

“At this point, I feel like I’m the one who needs to be talking to them because people need to know I want to continue racing and understand my desire,” Castroneves, 45, said. “There is opportunity, no question, in both (IndyCar and IMSA), which I’m really happy about it. However, because of the COVID-19, a lot of things sometimes have to be a little delayed. But I’m excited. Whatever the opportunity and whatever destiny guides me, whether IndyCar or sports cars, trust me I’ll be as happy as it could be and doing my 100 percent like I always did.

“It’s like politics, you need to be out there, good news or bad news. People have to make notice of your presence. I’m hustling. I want to continue to keep it going. Hopefully, we’ll have good news very soon.”

The news has been all good lately on track for Castroneves and Taylor, who hope to continue their run Sunday at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

The No. 6 duo has surged to sixth in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship standings, 10 points out of the lead with four races remaining. After thinking there was “no hope” to be competitive after opening the season with three consecutive poor finishes, Taylor now sees an opportunity for a happy ending.

“With the program going away, Helio has won all the big races and given so much back to the team and left such a mark, he’s really part of Penske history,” Taylor said. “For me, it’s been an opportunity of a lifetime to be a part of it. I’d like to leave my little mark as well. Helio has won everything except for a championship.

“Obviously, we’ve won races already together, but we can win a championship now. I think if both of us can do that together and both win our first championship for ‘The Captain,’ that would be an absolute dream come true, and we can tie a bow on it and be happy.”