Renault chief technical officer Bob Bell says the team's development focus is likely to be biased more towards 2017 this season.
Renault returns this year as a full works team having re-purchased the Lotus F1 Team, although with the deal only confirmed just days before Christmas, it means 2016 will inevitably be about building for the future, especially as proposed new regulations are due to come into force next year.
“I think, like most teams, you have to take a rain check once the season starts and establish where you are and what the real performance ranking is,” Bell replied when asked about attention shifting to 2017. “Once you have that information, and match it against what your aspirations are for the season, you can judge how much effort you're going to have to put in to meet those in any given season and, therefore, how much you can devote to the following season.
"So we need to do that as you would in any normal year, but I think the truth for us is that we would bias ourselves more towards development for next year rather than this year.”
Bell also added that the proposals for 2017 should be good for both Formula One and Renault, assuming that is they happen.
“I think it's a good thing for F1. I think we need some change to make the cars a little bit different, add a bit of performance, and I think, for Renault, it's good for us because it's levelling the playing field a little bit, which is a good way of helping us catch up,” he explained.
“So we're for it, whether it's full-on Red Bull [radical changes] or something less than that. My only concern of course is that it may not happen if it is deliberated to the point where it's too late to do it!
“But, if it happens, I think it's good thing for us.”