2017 is going to see the full rebirth of Renault after they confirmed their allegiance to the sport by retaking control of the Enstone team earlier last year, spurred on by their customer Red Bull Racing.
With investment into the team, and the engine department which will serve engines for Red Bull and Toro Rosso in 2017, a new ‘ground-breaking’ engine is ready as the company strives for having the best engine in the sport, currently an accolade held by Mercedes. The all new concept could be seen as a risk, especially with Red Bull on the ascendance and hotly tipped to be in contention of wins and the championship, but for Renault it is still a rebuilding year for the team, decimated by funding issues in 2015.
New Renault driver is under no illusions that 2017 is going to be easy, well aware of the drop in performance of the team in 2016, following a late change from the Mercedes to Renault engine. He said to the Daily Express newspaper, “I think next year is still a build-up year.
“I hope that next year it is a little bit better already, but I don’t expect them to be inside the top six straight away. Even the top ten is probably going to be challenging.”
For the its customer teams, the engine is going to be critical to their success, with Renault aware that Red Bull are looking for a great package from start.
“I prefer to be conservative in the expectation for the first initial running of the engine at the start of the season,” explained Abiteboul to Motorsport.com.
“But definitely it is an engine that is offering the potential to cope with an awful lot of development. We have lot of ideas of concepts in the pipelines – most of them, as far as I am aware, have not been seen at the track.
“Clearly I am not going to disclose anything, but we are super excited by the level of innovation that this new platform offers. So it is a choice that we are not making for the start of the season but we are definitely making for the long term.
“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.”