Renault has given the green light to plans to evaluate rearward facing exhausts at the German Grand Prix, as part of an upgrade package that team insiders believe will help turnaround its season.
The Enstone-based team has been pondering ditching its radical forward facing exhaust concept because it believes it is not bringing it the development progress that had been hoped for.
But following a difficult British Grand Prix weekend, where the team's form was not helped by the changes to the blown diffuser regulations, team principal Eric Boullier has revealed that the outfit will now definitely try a different concept at the Nurburgring.
"It is confirmed that we will try it out for Friday practice," Boullier told AUTOSPORT. "I keep saying this, but we know why we are struggling and why we cannot develop the car as fast as the others. So we may now have to change a little bit the strategy because we cannot deliver, so that includes changing the exhaust configuration, which we are going to try in Germany now.
"We still have some solid performance coming. I need to investigate in every field where we are lacking, and why we are missing some opportunities as well."
Boullier admitted that Renault's form at the British GP was not helped by the off-throttle blown diffuser situation, but said it was wrong to pin all its struggles on that.
"It didn't help, but it was not the factor – it was one factor, yes."
Boullier said that the team has conducted a detailed examination of why it has struggled to make development progress this year, and that finally some answers have been found. It is understood part of the drop in form after the first two races of the year was because the team failed to make enough progress in its wind tunnel at the start of this year as it worked on updates that should have come on tap in the early events.
Matters were also not helped when the wind tunnel was shut for 12 days in May while the team upgraded from a 50-percent model to a 60-percent model.
However, since the upgraded tunnel has been in place, the team has made the progress that it had originally wanted, and hopes are high that updates coming for the German GP will help it move a step closer to rediscovering the form that it had at the start of 2011.
Sources suggest that the team is looking at bringing around 0.3sec of improvements to the next race in Germany, with further updates planned over the next few events now that good progress is being made in the wind tunnel.
Boullier added: "Making investments sometimes is good, but sometimes they do not allow you to develop as fast as you like. With the wind tunnel upgrade, for example, we had to close the wind tunnel down for some days, and on those days we did not run.
"We also had a choice to go for the 'usual' exhaust system and, unfortunately, it takes a little bit of time to develop it. But even if we should see some good gain coming from the next race, we will see the development of this over the course of this year and next year as well."
Boullier added he was happy with the technical structure at the team, and said a recent reshuffle – with Martin Tolliday becoming chief designer to replace Tim Densham – meant there was still a good quality of staff working with the highly rated James Allison.
"When we took over from last year we had to understand what went wrong and part of this was that either we kill half the staff or we have a more proper and strategic understanding," he said. "There was a restructuring. When you manage 500 people, every month you have somebody leaving and somebody coming in, so we had to restructure the responsibilities of the company, which is what we did with James Allison.
"But we don't need a big name or big star or big job – we just need to strengthen some key sectors in the company."