Renault Sport F1's managing director Cyril Abiteboul says the French manufacturer has revised its token spending strategy and the shift in focus should be on pulling out the most from power unit performance.
Having returned to F1 as a fully-fledged team after taking control of Lotus this year, Renault has analysed its mistakes from the previous two seasons as an engine supplier since the tokens were introduced and is concentrating on performance gains rather than spending engine tokens to unlock improvements.
As a result, it was confirmed during the build-up to the season-opening Australian Grand Prix that Renault had spent the fewest number of tokens (7 out of 32) and is looking to make developments later in the year. In contrast, Ferrari spent the most (23), closely followed by Mercedes (19) and Honda (18).
“You can use a lot of tokens and bring absolutely nothing in terms of lap time, which actually is maybe something we did last year,” Abiteboul said. “I think the whole debate of tokens should go away and we should focus on performance.
“There is a plan to use more tokens during the course of the season, that's the plan and we have made lots of comments about that. Hopefully it will happen, both for the benefit of the Renault works team and also Red Bull.”
Abiteboul is confident Renault has uncovered gains over the winter with its power unit and can produce results which prove the improvements have been produced without spending additional tokens.
“I think that this is a demonstration that we have used little tokens but I hope that we have made a substantial step in terms of performance which will be actual evidence that there is no connection between token use and performance,” he said.