It has been well documented the change in Formula 1 regulations for 2017. The outgoing cars had less downforce thus placing a premium on power. The Mercedes power unit produces the most power and it was the driving force behind their rise to dominance. You would be forgiven for thinking that with new regulations focusing on more downforce that the power units would be less important.
“Of course the power unit is still the key element, because as there’s more downforce you are actually at full throttle for a longer period of time, so power units become even more sensitive.” Horner told RACER.com.
Horner’s Red Bull team knows the importance of power. After dominating F1 for 4 years with Sebastian Vettel Red Bull has found themselves playing catch up to Mercedes. The number one issue holding them back is power. After years of tension between Red Bull and their French supplier it would appear that Horner is finally happy with their Renault power unit.
“I think in terms of performance they seem on target with what they promised us, which is encouraging,” Horner Said. “I think we can see drivability is greatly improved – performance looks like a step in the right direction on plan with what was promised.”
Renault suffered ERS problems at the F1 test in Barcelona but Horner is confident it will be sorted out in time for this weekend’s Formula 1’s debut in Australia. Horner is not so quietly confident heading into the first race of the season. That could just be relief that they finally think they have a competitive power unit. Or, that could be real confidence the kind of confidence we saw from Red Bull back when Seb was kicking everyone’s butt.
As far as Horner is concerned there is just one problem with the new car, the sound. He’s not alone, personally the current crop of F1 power units sound more akin to landscaping equipment rather than a screaming F1 engine.
You can add Horner to the growing list of people who want F1 to bring the noise! (we were unable to get a statement regarding the funk) “The only element they’re missing for me is the noise. I think when you go out on track and you see them, they look fantastic, it would just look even better and sound even better if there was a screaming, high-revving engine in the back.”
So you have Ferrari topping the time sheets in testing. Red Bull has their swagger back and Mercedes is still doing Mercedes things. Are we finally about to see a competitive F1 season that isn’t an episode of Real Drivers of Brackley. I want to think Ferrari is the real deal. I look at the time charts and think, yes they will fight Mercedes this season.
Now you add Red Bull walking tall and outwardly expressing confidence. I don’t think this is the typical F1 bravado, I think they’re for real. I hope they are, I said at the end of last season Red Bull would be a force in 2017. New regs placing more importance on downforce favors Red Bull. So if they’re confident in their power unit then I think we have to take them seriously. Right up to the point they disappoint us all in Melbourne.