Renault have acknowledged that their reintroduction to Formula One in 2016 has set the foundation for a much stronger performance next season.
Renault Sport Racing Managing Director Cyril Abiteboul assessed the season with,
“2016 was always about laying the foundations for the future as we are committed to Formula 1 for the long haul. Our 2016 car, the R.S.16, was conceived in an unbelievably short timeframe – literally a couple of weeks – so our focus for this year has been on expansion of headcount and infrastructure and looking to next year and beyond.
One of our most tangible successes in 2016 has been the performance and reliability improvements of our power unit and the confirmation of long-term supply contracts with both Red Bull Racing and Scuderia Toro Rosso is the strongest illustration of this improvement.”
– Cyril Abiteboul
Renault are only one of three works teams alongside Mercedes and Ferrari and with a better timeframe for preparation, believe that competitiveness will come in 2017 thank to a fully-developed car and a strong driver line-up. Team Principal Fred Vasseur said,
“Our driver line-up for 2017 shows our intent and aspirations. Nico comes to the team at a perfect time for both us and him. He has experience of working with different teams, including those we expect to be our rivals next season. As well as a significant amount of experience, he has youth and hunger on his side. He has been a driver hungry for the right opportunity to help build a team and we are that team. It’s a perfect match.
Jolyon has shown great development over the course of his rookie season with us, combined with his motivating approach and team spirit, and we feel we have a very good driver line-up for what we want to achieve in 2017.
2017 is a fantastic opportunity for us to take a significant step forward for many reasons. The change of regulations could mean quite a shake-up in the order of relative competitiveness, plus the fruits of our expansion will be ramping up. We made an early start to developing next year’s car with this in mind.
Whilst 2017 should see a good step forward, we are realistic in our expectations as we know that we won’t leapfrog the midfield in a single season. However we are all pushing for a big improvement in competitiveness.”
– Fred Vasseur
The yellow-liveried French team will be expecting to score points more often than not and can’t afford another season of struggling towards the back of the midfield. Last time Renault were fully involved as a team in Formula One, three-season’s of regular points finishes were followed by Fernando Alonso’s two Championship-winning season’s.