Only Verstappen gets upgraded Renault engine in Singapore

max verstappen f1

Renault only had time to produce one updated power unit for the Singapore Grand Prix weekend, and it’s Max Verstappen who has it bolted on to the back of his Red Bull.

Cyril Abiteboul, Renault managing director, confirmed that the manufacturer spent three development tokens for what is set to be the final update package for this season.

Abiteboul explained to media why Verstappen was chosen ahead of Red Bull teammate Daniel Ricciardo and works Renault team drivers, “There’s no tactic, no strategy, no preference. We like Max, but it is just the natural way of managing the engine pool.”

“It was the plan to introduce a new engine for Max this weekend, so he is the one enjoying the improvement of the engine through the utilisation of three tokens.”

“The benefit, of course, will be higher for Max than for the three others. I think we will introduce the equivalent upgrade for the three others drivers in Malaysia.”

Renault estimate that the upgrade is worth a couple of tenths around Marina Bay, while expecting double that at faster circuits.

Abiteboul was not keen to divulge where his engineers found the performance gains, “I don’t want to go into the details of what has been changed, and that’s one of the beauties of the tokens because with this process we don’t have to document what we are changing. We’ll keep that for us.”

“But it’s in area that is providing more power, so we expect an extra gain from that development. It is also being introduced to test and learn some concepts for next year, which are all looking fairly positive,” added Abiteboul.

Indeed Verstappen was quicker than Ricciardo in both free practice sessions ion Friday, but he was only fractionally faster than his teammate.