MAY 17, 2016
Renault could debut Canada engine in Monaco
Renault is considering bringing forward the scheduled debut of its upgraded Montreal-spec engine to the Monaco race next weekend.
Although Renault celebrated quietly, because the customer power unit in the Red Bull is officially a 'Tag Heuer', the French carmaker's F1 ambassador Alain Prost hailed Max Verstappen's Barcelona breakthrough.
"The victory was important for Renault because it confirms to the engine people that they are on the right track," he told Auto Motor und Sport.
"Renault has made great strides over the winter, so when the next step of the same size comes, Red Bull will have a strong package," the F1 legend added.
That upgrade engine - reportedly boasting 35 more horse power and an almost half-second per lap boost - is officially scheduled for Canada but it is being tested in Barcelona this week.
"If after the tests we have all the data we need, we will consider it," said Renault chief Cyril Abiteboul, referring to suggestions the engine's debut could be fast-forwarded to Monaco.
"But experience from last year tells us not to rush things, even if Red Bull thinks that if it can be done tomorrow, it should be done tomorrow," he added.
Red Bull is already expecting its chassis to perform strongly in Monaco, but Abiteboul does not think an engine upgrade is an absolute necessity for the Principality.
"Monte Carlo is the circuit where power plays the least role," he said, "which is why we are waiting to solve even the slightest uncertainty."
Red Bull boss Christian Horner said the team will not pressure Renault.
"It is Renault's decision alone," he said, "but if there is something that will make us even stronger in Monaco, we'll gladly take it.
"If the upgrade lives up to its promise, we can really put Ferrari under pressure."