Renault Sport F1 project manager Stephane Rodriguez explained that in order to create the 1.6-litre V6 engine and twin electric motor F1 powertrain, some modules were taken from the Renault Zoe electric vehicle, with Renault engineers borrowed to help because “we didn’t have to that extent” the knowledge about the new technology.
Having now created among the most advanced powertrains for the high profile racing series, Rodriguez believes Renault Sport F1 could share its lessons learned and high-end technology with future road cars, though he stopped short at suggesting that the vehicle may be a Renault.
Asked whether Renault Sport F1 engineers could have a hand in helping with the reborn Alpine, the project manager replied: “Not specifically.”
“I don’t know, but Renault is part of an alliance, between Renault and Nissan,” he continued.
Rodriguez then answered positively to whether rumours the next-generation GT-R would feature electric technology meant Nissan could call on the Renault Sport F1 crew for development assistance.
“We could be asked, I think, because we are getting more and more experience,” he tells.
“But the requirement … tells you what you expect to do with a component is not exactly the same in a car application, even if it is a prestigious sports car like a GT-R.
“From a concept point of view, yes, but the production [car] won’t be the same.”
Rodriguez believes a primary aim in creating a good powertrain that combines an internal combustion engine with braking regeneration and electric motors is to “make the system invisible to the driver,” yet this is something his team struggled with in the early days of the 2014 F1 season.
He concedes that driving the Renault-powered F1 racers “was not very good due to our lack of maturity or experience,” and that noticeably faster Mercedes-Benz “had done a better job than us”, though his team has already begun work on the 2015 season engines with refinements and changes to the technology.