Renault's Bob Bell insists Renault has the chequebook to tackle Mercedes but doesn't have the time under the current regulations to recover ground on the German manufacturer.
One of F1's most decorated engineers, Bell returns to the Renault fold as it embarks on a full return to the sport in 2016, the Englishman keen to replicate the success of his last stint there with the title–winning R25 and R26.
Even so, with Renault forecasting modest results initially as it prepares to 'merge' its team with the existing Lotus set up it has purchased, with the 'run down' Enstone factory set to be given an overhaul as a result.
“We need to make sure the resources are appropriate for the task in hand. If we look at Enstone, on the chassis side, the resources have been run down over the last few years to keep the team alive, which is understandable, but it does mean that it's not fit for purpose in terms of its capacity for modern Formula One.
“So that's easy to recognise and relatively easy, if you give it enough time, to build back up again and we are enacting that process now. We then need to make sure that increased capacity is working well together and is both creative and productive, and our task is to make sure we do that effectively.
“That spans not just Enstone but Viry-Chatillon as well. We have a duel task to make sure both sites are fit for purpose and properly integrated.”
Indeed, Bell insists Renault – which has struggled to get a grasp on the current V6 Hybrid regulations - has the financial strength to rival Mercedes, but may be forced to wait until the next wave of changes to make it count.
“In F1 and you have to compare it with the benchmark, which is Mercedes. Mercedes did several things that led to their current dominance and the seeming demise in Renault's capability and that was starting the project earlier, bringing more resources to bear on the project earlier and I think they were better organised for dealing with that project.
“So when you put all these things together, it doesn't come as a big surprise that they caught Renault napping and did a much more credible job. It's not because Renault aren't as clever, there are just as many clever people in Renault as there are at Mercedes, and corporate Renault has as big a chequebook as Mercedes has, but what it's lacking at the minute is just time to catch up. But catch up, they will."