• British Grand Prix

Renault wary of downforce loss

Chris Medland
July 1, 2011 « Sauber seeks qualifying boost | »
James Allison is unsure how much downforce Renault will lose compared to other teams © Sutton Images
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Renault technical director James Allison says he is wary of losing more downforce than other teams when the off-throttle diffuser ban is brought in to force at the British Grand Prix.

The FIA has clarified a regulation which now means teams are not allowed to use an engine map that would blow exhaust gases through the diffuser even when the driver is off-throttle. During the FOTA Fans' Forum Allison said that the impact of the change has been estimated at around 0.4s per lap on average, and speaking to ESPNF1 he said Renault had already done tested the new engine map during practice for the European Grand Prix.

"We'd be foolish to enter the race without some idea of what it was going to do," Allison said. "I don't think we would be alone in having had a little look at it at the last race either, because it's perfectly possible to mode in those engine mapping configurations and see how it behaved last race, so we did that."

Red Bull's Adrian Newey said he thought Renault would be hardest hit by the ban due to the nature of its innovative front-exiting exhaust system. Allison said he didn't know if that would turn out to be true, but that the R31's balance would not be affected.

"I hope he's not right, but if we are we are. It's a clarification we didn't anticipate and I think I'm on record already as saying I would have preferred the status quo to have remained until the end of the year, but we'll just get on with it like everyone else.

"It will be how much downforce you'll lose and how much it affects the balance of your car. I can't say how much downforce we'll lose compared to other people; I know how much we'll lose, I know that it won't affect the balance of our car so that's sort of good but maybe we'll lose more downforce than other people. It will shake out in Silverstone and let's hope we're not too screwed up by it!"

Despite his preference for the rules to remain unchanged during the season, Allison played down the overall impact of the ban on Renault's workload and said it was an aspect of the sport that all of the teams were used to.

"It's been going on a while. There have been many clarifications of existing rules which have resulted in things that were OK at the start of the year having been on the car for quite a long time suddenly being not OK. We just have to roll with the punches, there's no conspiracy behind it it's just the way the sport operates.

"It's not a big change in the sense that there's no 'Oh my god how are we going to cope with this change?' No-one would argue that. I think it's more just that you go in to a season with what you think was a settled understanding of the way the rule should be interpreted and then you find you were wrong and you have to adapt to it. I think that probably more people in the room were surprised that this was the new interpretation than felt 'OK that's exactly what I thought right from the outset', but I genuinely believe that it's just part and parcel of the sport and we just have to get on with it."

Chris Medland is an assistant editor on ESPNF1

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