Rémi Taffin, Renault Sport F1 head of track operations
The Circuit of the Americas has already established itself as a classic track, featuring exciting corners, high speed sections and tight, technical hairpins. It’s actually a very challenging circuit and will give every component of the Power Unit a good workout. The PU will operate in the mid to high range throughout sectors one and two, but the final sector will focus on energy recovery and stability under braking.
The start of the lap is one of the hardest sectors for the ICE and turbo. The pit straight will see the ICE work at close to its maximum rev limit, while the altitude change to the first corner strains the turbo as it rotates at a higher speed to generate the same amount of power at the top of the hill. After the first corner, the driver then negotiates the sweeping series of Esses through to turn eight. Like Suzuka and Silverstone’s Esses and Becketts complexes, the ICE will be working at close to its maximum capacity through this section. After all this, the long back straight then sees the cars flat out for over 1km, with speeds in excess of 320kph.
The third sector is a lot more stop-start, but the hairpins and tight corners will give the MGU-K a chance to recharge. At each corner, the driver will stamp on the brakes, putting large forces through the K and filling the battery once more.
Now we enter the final three races, reliability starts to become an overriding concern so having such a challenging circuit at this point in the year makes everyone a little nervous. Mileage on each part is high and putting each through its paces means we’ll have a very busy weekend to check everything over and safeguard against any issues. In most cases we have enough flexibility to play around, plus we also have the confidence of knowing our performance and how to fully exploit it.