Renault will run its B-spec power unit for the first time at the two-day test following the Spanish Grand Prix.
Renault has struggled for performance since the introduction of the V6 turbo engines in 2014, but is hopeful it will tap into a rich vein of performance over the second half of this season. A major upgrade is planned at the Canadian Grand Prix in three races' time, but the engine will make its track debut during Barcelona testing to allow the team to gather data. It will feature alongside a raft of updates to the Renault RS16 over both the race weekend and the test.
"For the race we have an updated rear wing as well as some updates for the front wing," Renault technical director Nick Chester said. "For the test we have a full raft of things to try; new suspension, further aero updates over various areas of the car, some mods to cooling as well as evaluating the B-spec power unit, so we should have a full two days."
The new-spec engine has been eagerly anticipated by both Renault and its customer team Red Bull, which runs identical TAG Heuer-branded power units. By running it at the test, Renault will not impact on its power unit allocation for the season, allowing it to use the standard spec at the following race in Monaco, which is not a power-sensitive circuit, before running the updated version on the long straights of the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.
After scoring its first points since its return as a full constructor last weekend, Renault now sees the Spanish Grand Prix as the start of a new stage of development for the team.
Getting points in Russia was a good fillip for the team after the tough race in China, managing director Cyril Abiteboul said. We were reliable and competitive enough to out-race our closest competition and that took a lot of hard work. That said, we acknowledge it took a cocktail of circumstances and repeating the result in Spain would be tough.
However, Barcelona is the start of our development program and we will see some new developments coming through in the race, with several others scheduled for the test afterwards. We look at this race as a marker in the sand: the exit point of our recovery from the takeover and the first race as 'our' team. It will start small, but I'm confident we will gain momentum as we go forward.