Toro Rosso technical chief James Key believes it will be possible to share more Formula 1 technology with Red Bull Racing when it switches back to Renault for 2017.
Toro Rosso’s return to Renault power means it will run the same engines as Red Bull again, after both teams ran the French manufacturer’s engines in 2014-’15. The two parties have shared technology before, such as gearbox internals, but there is the potential for more sharing or R&D that in turn will help cut costs.
“It always makes sense if you have two F1 teams, to have levels of overlap between those teams,” said Key. “We moved away from Renault as there was uncertainty as to what they would be doing as it wasn’t clear if they would buy the Enstone team [formerly Lotus].
“And, we knew there were some troubles that were affecting both teams a little bit – but a lot of those have gone away. The intention was when we first went to Renault was to have the same engine [as Red Bull] because you have overlap of power unit related technology which can be shared. That is shared, it’s not sold from one team to another.
“It gives you the ability to come up with a solution which suits both teams and you cut out as a result two R&D streams as you have one. We have had gearbox internals, but you can extend that to maybe items of the fuel system, hydraulic systems, perhaps exhaust design, some of the electronics.
“Where that can be common, it makes a huge amount of sense, there is definitely cost saving in there. Most of that, to be honest, is on non-performance differentiators.”
Red Bull is considering increasing the cooperation with Toro Rosso where feasible. However, it would need to look at production scheduling and logistics, given the two teams are based in different countries.
Key praised the improvements Renault has made this season, after struggling since the introduction of the new engine formula.
“Renault have really turned a corner significantly this year and that gives us a lot of confidence going back,” he said. “We’ve had one year with Ferrari and we can go back with a lot more confidence that the operation is in much better shape than it was before. Not only have they got on top of some of their reliability issues but they are clearly finding real decent performance.”