Revealed: The Ingredient To Renaults' "Magic Dust"—Hot Tyres!

Mike WilkinsCorrespondent INovember 10, 2008

At the beginning of this season, Renault F1 had a problem. 
The R28 was a dog. Even someone as great as Fernando Alonso could not get the awful thing into Q3 very often and if he did, the poor thing expired with the effort of it all. 
Then things started to change. The car got faster, Fernando started to put it near the front of the grid, even Piquet got into Q3...sometimes. Finally, towards the end of the season Fernando won a couple and we were all wondering: What caused this resurgence in form? What was the magic dust that was sprinkled on the car? 
I can now explain that change. It was a subtle yet highly effective tweak to the exhaust system that blew the hot exhaust onto the rear tyres to heat them throughout the race. This heating effectively meant that the car used it's tyres much more consistently and they worked throughout a stint, particularly if the conditions were cooler or if say behind a safety car when the tyre temperatures dropped. 
This is why I love F1 so much. With all the millions spent gaining that last tenth of a second, something as simple as directing part of the exhaust gases onto a tyre can change a car from a back of the midfield pack runner, to a real challenger in one easy and inexpensive swoop. 
Necessity really is the mother of invention. Nice one Renault.