Since the start of the V6 turbo era in 2014, Renault have been on the back-foot in the engine department. The yellow works team has big ambitions for the future though, and have revealed that there is no point in taking a conservative approach this season if they are to build a title-challenger for future seasons.
With the established Nico Hulkenberg and improving Jolyon Palmer in the cockpit next season, Renault have the right personnel to take the next step in the battle of the Constructors. To align their ambitions practically, Renault’s managing director Cyril Abiteboul said,
“Frankly we have had long discussions about that because at the point in time that everything is changing on the rest of the car, we could have taken a more conservative approach in trying to freeze what we have and focus on the chassis.
But we have not gone for that. We have gone for a very aggressive option – which is that there is no time. If we want to be where we would like to be for 2018 or 2020, which is the next phase, when we want to target the top teams, we cannot afford to delay anything. So we need to accept to take risk.
We will be focusing on reliability with that new concept of engine – which will be a new concept I can confirm that. It means that it may not be a big jump in terms of performance, simply for the reason that we want to make sure to introduce this concept that it is reliable and that will be the perfect platform to develop the performance for the next three to four years.”
– Cyril Abiteboul
Many predict Renault to be in the thick of it in 2017 and make a big step forward. Their engine programme had seen the gap to Mercedes narrow, particularly with the Red Bull team. The risk in an aggressive approach will see a larger influx of updates with a slightly higher rate of failure, but the risk-takers tend to find success overall.