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Mario Illien: & # 34; Renault already made progress at the beginning of the season & # 34;

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Interview with Mario Illien
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What is the current status of the cooperation with Renault?

I llien: I signed a week before Christmas. It's a longer term contract. We are now putting together a program and discussing how we can start the new season.

You already developed something for Renault in 2015? What happens to it?

Illien: We will certainly use that and gradually integrate it into the engine.

Renault's final decision did not come until the beginning of December. What can you do in the short time until the start of the season?

Illien: You could do a lot with the 32 tokens, but the Time does not allow that. Now, in collaboration with Renault, we have to see what is possible at all in the limited time.

Renault is based in France, Ilmor in England. How can you imagine the cooperation?

Illien: We have a small team in England, do development there and will also use our test benches . The races are the responsibility of Renault. The coordination on the test bench and the development of the maps also take place at Renault. We are in constant contact and visit each other.

But Ilmor isn't developing a completely new engine for Renault?

Ilien: No, the areas are currently not exactly defined. It now also depends on where there are ideas, where the focus should be placed and what is possible at all in the short time. Of course, we now have to plan well beyond 2016.

Renault was far behind. Do you have to start from scratch?

Illien: No, it's not that bad. That will gradually increase. I hope that progress will be evident at the beginning of the season.

Ilmor was also involved in the application process for the alternative engine. What's next?

Illien: We have to wait until there is a decision. That depends on how the meetings go in January.

Let's assume that the decision on a new engine concept will come soon. Will that still work for 2017?

Illien: I think it's too late for that. I think 2018 is realistic.

Would it be economically worthwhile for an independent engine manufacturer such as Ilmor or Cosworth to develop a completely new engine if you could at the end only allowed to sell for 7 million euros?

Illien: If nobody pays you the development costs, then it is difficult.

How does it work in the IndyCar series, where the engines cost significantly less?

Illien: The technology is much easier there. We don't have a hybrid - neither recuperation via KERS nor the turbocharger. There are also no intercoolers. That simplifies the situation extremely.

Would it be better if one simply standardized the hybrid modules MGU-H, KERS and the batteries?

Illien: That would make the whole thing cheaper. Technically it would work too. That would only affect the packaging. And the fan doesn't see any difference.

In your opinion, what is the ideal engine formula to achieve the goals set by Bernie Ecclestone 'louder, stronger, cheaper and accessible to everyone 'to meet?

Illien: The whole energy recovery makes the whole package very expensive as mentioned. The fact that you can only use 4 engines per season does not make it cheaper, but more expensive. You have to ensure stability early in the season and only little can be changed later. Not much more money would be spent through a development.

What is the potential of the current concept? Are we already at the end of the development process or will the existing engine eventually reach 1,000 hp?

Illien: There is still potential , but 1,000 hp will be difficult. This is mainly due to the limited fuel. At 10,500 revs we have the maximum fuel flow. The efficiency then goes into the basement.

Should one allow more fuel for the next engine in order to get more power?

Illien: Yes, I think you should give up a bit of efficiency to make it easier.

What is the problem with simply increasing the amount of fuel in the current V6 architecture?

Illien: The current motors are not designed for the load. Pistons, connecting rods, bearings ... you soon have ignition pressures like a diesel. That's a big topic.

Shouldn't Renault concentrate on the new engine early on in the development process?

Illien: I think you have to do both. You have to drive the races sensibly until then. And of course you also learn something if you improve the existing concept.

Is it even realistic to catch up with Mercedes and Ferrari in 2016?

Illien: That will probably take a little longer than a year. The others are also making progress, of course.

What is Mercedes doing better?

Illien: It's overall efficiency. The big advantage is that they do everything in one house. This of course also makes them faster and more efficient than having to go to a supplier.

Much damage at Renault was caused by knocking. Why is that such a big problem?

Illien: The preparation of the fuel and the mixing are a sensitive issue. But also the cooling and the question of how warm the fresh air gets into the engine and how efficient the compressor is.

But in Formula 1 there are intercoolers - in In contrast to the IndyCar series, for example.

Illien: In the IndyCar series we also have knocking. But you have to be able to deal with it. One has to take measures to reduce it and prevent it.

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