Jolyon Palmer is looking forward to getting his hands on the latest specification Renault V6 as he bids to reverse his season of misfortune at the Canadian Grand Prix.
The F1 rookie has yet to better the eleventh place he took on debut at the Australian season-opener, with a DNS and finishes of 22nd, 13th and 13th preceding his bruising exit from the Monaco Grand Prix on a bad weekend for Renault as a whole.
Team-mate Kevin Magnussen gave the uprated V6 its first outing in the Principality and, while he too crashed out of the event, Renault's reaction to the improved engine is giving everyone at Enstone renewed confidence as F1 heads to Montreal for its mid-season trans-Atlantic sojourn.
“The B-spec power unit looked like it made a good difference in Monaco, and Canada is a more power-hungry circuit so, if it was a positive step in Monaco, it should certainly help our cause in Montreal,” Palmer confirmed, “The track itself looks great with good overtaking opportunities - there has been good racing [in Montreal] in the past so it's exciting to be headed for my first race there.
“The new engine mapping certainly looks to have been beneficial and you need good traction in out of the lower speed corners in Canada. It's got more power too, so everything
is good in that regard. We should be a good chunk more competitive, so we'll do everything we can to maximise the car around the track.”
Such was his frustration at making an early, and elementary, exit from the Monaco grand prix – an accident he blamed on wheelspin over white lines on the start-finish straight – that Palmer says he volunteered to help his crew build up the new chassis he's get to use in Canada.
“I've been in Enstone since Monaco, basically to get some time in the simulator, but I did also offer to get the spanners out to help build the new chassis…,” he claimed, “I'm very grateful for all the hard work that goes in at the track - and back in Enstone and Viry - and I did more than my fair share of damage to the car in Monaco.
“We went over the data and it looks like it was the lower grip as I crossed the white lines of the zebra crossing which meant my wheels span as I pushed to accelerate. The car was pitched sideways and I collected the barriers. It was just the wrong place at the wrong time. I had a bit of bruising on my feet, so it was just my ego and the car that had to suffer.”
Montreal is the toughest challenge of the year so far for the power units, with the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve's long straights demanding maximum power for just over 60 per cent of the lap. The longest straight, the 1.064km Droit du Casino, will see top speeds in excess of 330kph, the highest seen so far this year.
“The 'B' specification power unit is a good step forward and we have it in both cars in Montreal,” technical director Nick Chester confirmed, “In Monaco, we were able to benefit primarily from the improved driveability, whereas Montreal is more a power track thanks to its straights following slow corners, and this means we should really see the power unit stretch its legs. Montreal, however, has also presented us with quite a mix of weather conditions over the years, so there is plenty to keep us on our toes!”