Renault is considering abandoning its forward-facing exhaust concept in the wake of the clampdown on blown diffuser use, AUTOSPORT has learned.
The Enstone-based outfit is unsure about how big an impact the ban on off-throttle use of blown diffusers will have on its car – with the R31 having been built around the forward exhaust concept.
Amid worries the regulation clarification could dramatically hurt its form, Renault has designed and built a more traditional rearward exhaust layout – which it tried out during a recent straight-line test at Duxford.
And team principal Eric Boullier has revealed that the team could trial it during a free practice session soon – perhaps as early as the next race of the season in Germany – with a view to racing it later this season.
When asked by AUTOSPORT if the team could switch to the rear layout, Boullier said: "Maybe. We have to cover all scenarios on this side as well. Our concept of the front exhausts was obviously to maximize the blowing floor so we have to work forward and think differently, because anyway next year it will not be allowed.
"We still have our concept and still have a lot of gain expected in the coming weeks, but we won't spend too much to develop this one if it is forbidden this year."
Boullier said his team would wait and see what impact the blown diffuser regulation tweaks will have on its car at Silverstone before deciding on a plan for the Nurburgring.
"We may think to bring a solution like this [to Germany]," said Boullier. "To be honest, it is still early. We have built it up and we have tested it at the aero test, and we still need to wait for the damage/loss with this blowing to see if we want to bring it for one free practice session."