Renault has confirmed that its works team as well as its customers – Red Bull and McLaren – will enjoy an extra dose of engine power in qualifying this weekend in Austria.
The French manufacturer is late to the party as it plays catch up to Mercedes and Ferrari which have long benefited from their respective special engine modes in the all-important Saturday afternoon session.
“We have a qualifying mode now, for both us and our customers,” said Renault Sport F1 boss Cyril Abiteboul.
“Before we were able to call on a bit more performance in qualifying, but now the jump is significant,” he told Auto Motor und Sport.
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Abiteboul insisted however that Renault’s ‘party mode’ is not linked to the introduction of a new-spec MGU-K element on the manufacturer’s unit.
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“It has nothing to do with the MGU-K,” said the Renault manager. “The gains are from the internal combustion engine.
“The new MGU-K is lighter, more compact and offers better reliability because we have a better control of the temperatures without sacrificing performance.”
Red Bull motorsport boss Helmut Marko reckons Renault’s ‘party mode’ boost should be worth a gain of about three tenths of a second a lap.
“We’ll have to wait and see what it brings us,” said Max Verstappen at the Red Bull Ring.
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