Renault CEO Jean-Michel Jalinier has underlined the importance of the French marque's engines being competitive from the start of the 2013 season, as focus switches from the current V8 to next year's new V6 units.
Speaking as the third and final pre-season test kicked off in Barcelona, Jalinier reflected on a successful 2012 campaign, which saw Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull complete title hat-tricks with Renault power, and both the Lotus and Williams teams claim victories, before admitting that there was still work to be done in the final year of the current formula.
“2012 was a successful season in terms of results with our four partners,” he said, including Caterham in his review, “Three of our four teams have won races - this is the first time since 1983 that an [engine builder] wins with three different teams - and our four teams finished in the top ten ranking of manufacturers.
“We achieved impressive goals, including a third double in the drivers' and manufacturers' championships with Red Bull Racing, our 150th victory and our 200th pole position.
“But success breeds ambition, [and] we still have much to show in 2013. We need to set goals at least as high.”
With the same four teams on its roster, and closer competition expected throughout the field, Renault should find itself in with a shout for both championships once again, but Jalinier knows where it can improve in order to fend off rivals from Ferrari and Mercedes.
“We want the same success, with improved reliability,” he noted, “We had reliability problems during the season, [but] we responded by putting in place procedures and measures to prevent it from happening again.
“We need to be at our best at the beginning of the season. This means that we offer the best service to each of our partners, our engines are reliable and that we are able to help each team to progress.”
The advent of the new V6 era will not only tax the teams, who have to develop new cars and systems to mate to the engines, but obviously for the manufacturers too, and Jalinier is quick to point out where Renault's focus will lie.
“Arrival of new regulations is the biggest challenge to us over the past ten years, maybe even forever,” he admitted, “We've been preparing for the revolution since we read the rules in 2011, and a part of the team [has been] working on this new engine since the regulations were known.
“This team continually expands, and that will be the case again this year, until the new engine requires a majority of our resources. Only a small part of the team will remain focused on the exploitation of V8 and its reliability during the second half of the season. This is why it is important that everything is perfectly in place to begin this new season.”