Renault has freshly introduced an upgraded engine for this weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix, but Red Bull’s Max Verstappen is the only receiver. Which means an extra 15 horse power for Max and hopefully a few tenths of time per lap.
Dutchman Verstappen, 18, lapped the Marina Bay Street Circuit in opening practice session with 1min 45.823 sec to edge out his Australian teammate by 0.049 seconds. Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel was next fastest, 0.464 off the pace.
Renault F1 Sport Director Cyril Abiteboul has also confirmed Total is supplying new fuel, with all four Renault-powered drivers benefiting from that.
Asked why Verstappen had received the engine upgrade over Red Bull team-mate Daniel Ricciardo and works Renault team drivers Kevin Magnussen and Jolyon Palmer, Abiteboul told Autosport: “There is no tactic, no strategy, no preference.
“We like Max, but it is just the natural way of managing the engine pool.
“This weekend it was the plan to introduce a new engine for Max, so he is the one enjoying the improvement of the engine through the utilisation of three tokens.
“All the engines will benefit from the new fuel developed with Total, and we are very happy with that positive development.
“The benefit, of course, will be higher for Max than for the three others. I think we will introduce the equivalent upgrade for the three others drivers in Malaysia.” Abiteboul added