Formula 1: Austrian Grand Prix--
This change of air looks set to suit the Renault Sport Formula One Team, as the squad’s Chief Technical Officer Bob Bell explains: “Austria is much more in the R.S.16’s comfort zone. With some very fast sections, you need a car that has good high-speed balance, which should play to our strengths. As we’ve seen in the last three races, we do have a weakness in low-speed corners so it’s good to get away from them!”
It might be one of the shortest tracks of the season, but the Red Bull Ring nonetheless places significant stresses on the engines which run at full throttle for almost 60 per cent of the lap. That is comparable to Spa-Francorchamps and Monza – two of the most demanding circuits on the calendar for engines! Given that there are only seven corners – and therefore seven braking zones – the energy recovery system that captures waste heat as it is dispelled from the exhaust (MGU-H) will play a greater role than its braking-related counterpart (MGU-K).
Moreover, the engines must be adapted to deal with the circuit’s altitude, with the bucolic Red Bull Ring to be found 700 metres above sea level, resulting in less available oxygen. This means turbos will spin at a much higher rate than usual in order to compensate for the low ambient pressure and to produce the same power as they would at sea level. For the majority of the lap, the turbos will spin at almost 100,000rpm!
That said, vertigo clearly isn’t an option, as Kevin Magnussen and Jolyon Palmer are well aware and both drivers are approaching the race weekend with genuine excitement. “I’m particularly looking forward to it” confirms the young Dane. “With its fresh air and mountains, Austria is more my kind of country. It’s great to be away from a city for a grand prix and the circuit itself is really good. It’s small but high-speed and I like that.”
His British team-mate, who will be racing in the Austrian Grand Prix for the first time, shares that enthusiasm: “I like the fact that the driver can make a difference around the Red Bull Ring. There are some bumpy areas and some overtaking opportunities, like Turns One and Two. There are some fast sections too, including the penultimate corner. Then the final turn has a bit of camber and you need to carry the speed through.”
Benefitting from an aggressive tyre selection that includes Pirelli’s ultra-soft rubber, the Renault Sport Formula One Team drivers will give their all to maximise the potential of the R.S.16 in this grand prix, during which they are expected to make either one or two pit-stops.