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F1 Belgian GP: Renault to make only ‘small steps’ to end of season

As the second half of the 2016 F1 season kicks off in Belgium, Renault reveals it is channelling its efforts into getting a head-start on 2017
Renault managing director Cyril Abiteboul says the team will only be making 'small steps' in terms of updates to the end of the 2016 season as it channels its efforts into getting a head-start on its 2017 F1 challenger.

The returning manufacturer has endured a disappointing comeback campaign following its buy-out of the former Lotus team over the winter, with just one top ten finish – a seventh place in Russia – to show for.

Ahead of the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps, Abiteboul has revealed the team is now fully focused on 2017 behind the scenes ahead of a shake-up in the regulations in favour of updating its current RS16.

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“After a very busy start to the year it was good to take some time to sit back and look at our journey since December 2015. In just over eight months we have revitalised two sites, started an aggressive recruitment campaign to build the workforce, initialised a re-build plan for Enstone, scored our first points and laid down some strong foundations for the future.

“Naturally we still have a long way to do until we reach our objectives, but we are on track with the plan to get there.

“Realistically in 2016 we will only be taking small steps as our main focus is now shifting to 2017 and beyond. Just before the shutdown we were on the tail of the midfield and able to fight for position.

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“We still have a number of minor planned developments coming on stream in the later races so keeping this level of performance has got to be our objective for Spa and beyond.

“We're motivated and believe we have the structure and tools to do it. It's not going to be a walk in the park, but Formula 1 never is!”

Renault has remained coy about plans for its driver line-up next season, though incumbents Kevin Magnussen and Jolyon Palmer are both believed to be under threat from Sergio Perez, Valtteri Bottas and Esteban Ocon, who makes his race debut for Manor this weekend.

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