Renault brings forward introduction of upgraded power unit

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Renault is set to bring forward the introduction of its upgraded power unit to next weekend’s Monaco Grand Prix.

After a difficult 2015 season that saw it receive a great deal of criticism from customer team Red Bull, Renault entered the new campaign hopeful of fixing many of the issues with its power unit.

A first major upgrade was planned for the Canadian Grand Prix weekend at the beginning of June, but this is now set to be brought forward to the next race in Monaco.

Renault and Red Bull tested the upgraded power unit design earlier this weekend at the first in-season test of the year in Spain, resulting in positive feedback.

In Renault’s preview of the Monaco Grand Prix, engine chief Remi Taffin confirmed that plans are in motion to bring forward the introduction of the new power unit.

“The current power unit used since Australia has had several smaller upgrades and all the drivers were very happy with the standard in Spain,” Taffin said.

“In parallel, we’ve been working on the new spec since the start of the season but needed to sign off all the parts for reliability and mileage before using on track. The tests were very positive and showed it to be more powerful and driveable.

“We had originally planned to use the new version in Canada when the current units are scheduled to be removed from the cycle, but if we can get the units together and completely validated by Monaco we will use the ones available at this race.”

Taffin confirmed that Renault has used some of its season token allocation to introduce the B-spec power unit, having spent the fewest of any of the manufacturers over the winter.

“The power unit we have used since the first race in Australia was really a continuation of the work started in the ‘Spec D’ power unit we introduced at the tail end of 2015,” Taffin said.

“We explored some concepts in that earlier iteration and the 2016 unit took them further, for example in the turbo. This new spec goes even further down the line and also includes significant modifications to the combustion system.

“It will make the ICE more powerful but also efficient, leading to a gain of around half a second per lap. We’ve used a small proportion of our token allocation for this upgrade.”