Head of Renault Sport F1's track operations Remi Taffin talks about the factors involved in bringing a new team into the Renault engine fold.

Q:
How has the partnership with Scuderia Toro Rosso developed since it was announced in May?

R?mi Taffin:
The partnership is already blossoming. The deal was concluded very early last year, which enabled us to build good functional working relationships at all levels of the team.

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The timing has actually been a major benefit since the team was entering into the closing stages of design for the STR9. As a result we have been able to contribute a great deal of information to optimize the engine housing and installation and advise the overall best decisions to take. [Toro Rosso technical director] James [Key] and his team are very open to new ideas that will make the car as competitive as possible.

Q:
How has the Energy F1 been adapted to fit the STR9?

R?mi Taffin:
In the current context of the regulations the Renault Energy F1 power unit (the ICE and ERS) supplied to our teams is identical. We can change some of the auxiliaries to facilitate greater integration into the STR9 so this is where the optimization comes in, principally to aid cooling and packaging. We think the STR-Renault package is a good challenger.

Q:
How will the trackside team be structured for STR?

R?mi Taffin:
STR will have the same structure of engine support team as our other partners: eight people consisting of two engineers, one performance engineer, two technicians, two electronic engineers and one mechanic.

Signing the contract early meant both teams could get to know their opposite numbers and start discussing the parameters and operating procedures in a constructive way. In this respect it is an advantage that the team is closely connected to Red Bull Technology since we are already familiar with some of the methods, including the gearbox structure and housing and operating parameters.

Q:
Will any of the tracks pose any particular difficulties?

R?mi Taffin:
In essence no more than in previous years. Monza will still remain the hardest on the ICE and high speed, while Monaco and Budapest will be critical for energy recovery. However what we will see is that the turbo will serve as an equalizer between ambient and atmospheric conditions so circuits that were not considered 'difficult' may have to be reassessed.

For example, in the past we always said that Brazil was relatively low impact as we could use an engine on the third race of its life due to the low atmospheric pressure that placed less stress on the internals. However since the turbo greatly increases ambient pressure inside the engine, the internal stresses are always the same and the amount of oxygen in the air becomes largely irrelevant.

Similarly, in Malaysia we could always count on the humidity to limit the effect of the long straights but now there will be no power loss due to the lack of oxygen in air as we are mastering the quantity of air in the engine at all times.

Q:
What are your goals for the STR-Renault partnership this year?

R?mi Taffin:
With the power unit technology being so new it would be premature to speculate on possible outcomes, but clearly our overall objective will be to make the package as competitive as it can be. The team is very ambitious and clearly wants to challenge for points and podiums, but Melbourne will be the acid test for everyone!

We'll take one step at a time - the first being to accumulate as much testing mileage as possible over the winter. The second will of course be to make sure we cross the line at Melbourne!