Renault Sport F1’s Power Unit for Abu Dhabi F1 Grand Prix

Internal Combustion Engine

  • Yas Marina is a mid-range power track, but it is particularly hard on the ICE due to the long 1.2 km back straight where the power unit will be at full throttle for 14 secs. The sharp acceleration between turns also loads and unloads the ICE in quick succession, stressing the pistons and other internals.
  • Over 50% of the lap is spent at full throttle, with average speeds of 190 kph, similar to the Circuit de Gilles-Villeneuve. Top speed will peak at over 330 kph down the back straight between Turns 7 and 8. This may seem slow in comparison to the highs of Mexico and Brazil, but it’s just as impressive as the cars will be running medium to high downforce settings and the sea-level air is much denser than at high altitude.
  • The ambient conditions are also a major challenge for the ICE. The heat and lack of humidity can cause the very destructive ‘knocking’ phenomenon that can occur in turbocharged engines if the ignition timing is not correct. Knocking, or detonation, is abnormal combustion of the fuel and air mix.
  • The unusual timetable of Abu Dhabi, where some sessions take place in the heat of the afternoon and others after sunset make engine mapping a tricky process. Sometimes engineers may run two different engine maps since the grip levels, tyre warm up and air pressure will change and the engine also needs to respond to this new set of parameters. The engineers will work closely with the driver to obtain a pedal map tailored to the different track conditions throughout the day.[image_frame style=”framed_shadow” align=”center” alt=”Abu Dhabi Formula 1 grand prix” title=”Over 50% of the lap is spent at full throttle, with average speeds of 190 kph” height=”366″ width=”650″][/image_frame]


  • After the dizzy heights of Brazil and Mexico, the turbocharger is given an easier time in Abu Dhabi. It rotates within the normal operating limits with very few periods of stress. The tight corners of Sector 3 require it to be responsive out of the corners, but apart from this part of the track, the Grand Prix is very routine for the turbo.


  • Fuel consumption per km is the fifth highest of the season behind Melbourne, Montreal, Zeltweg and Sochi. The first two sectors are relatively fuel efficient but the stops and starts of the final sector dramatically increase the consumption. It is increased further by the sea level altitude and running in the lower temperatures after sunset.
  • Energy recovery is critical due to the fuel consumption constraints but with 21 corners, most of which are second or third gear, there is plenty of opportunity for the MGU-K to recover energy dissipated in the braking events.
  • The corners of Sector 3 are mainly taken in third gear. The average speed through this section is just under 160 kph with the biggest stop being the chicane of Turn 12, where speeds drop to just 85 kph.


  • Abu Dhabi is a typical modern track with very few fast corners so the MGU-H is not heavily solicited. The quickest complex is between turns 2 and 5 where speeds will be between 240 and 290 kph. The car and driver will be subject to high lateral forces through this flowing section, pulling between +/-5 g whilst changing direction, but the full throttle usage will maintain a steady stream of exhaust.

Summary from Guillaume Biondi, Total F1 Technical coordinator

The V6 turbo is very demanding on a thermal level, essentially because of the lubrication constraints of the turbocharger bearings. Total introduced an advanced, extremely stable oxidation fuel formula at the start of the season, allowing the Renault Sport F1 power unit to gain in performance. After handing a power gain of 5% to our engine partner in 2014, our rate of development remained just as high, including providing a formula early in the season and a new step equivalent to a 2% power gain at the Hungarian GP. The latter was marked by a double podium for Infiniti Red Bull Racing. Our researchers are already working on 2016 and energy efficiency, for discernable results from the track to the road.

Source: Renault Sport F1

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.