Renault's chief technical officer Bob Bell says the target of challenging for F1 world titles by 2021 set by the company's President is a 'realistic objective', while he explained why Jolyon Palmer's maiden championship point at Sepang meant more than most.
When Renault confirmed its return as a full factory effort for 2016, the group outlined its goals of returning to the top of the standings having enjoyed an all-conquering stint in 2005-06 with back-to-back world titles.
Bell confirmed Renault group President Carlos Ghosn has given the team a five-year plan for the French manufacturer to challenge for world championships and has drawn comparisons to Mercedes's and Red Bull's recent rise to success.
“Mr Ghosn is very clear in his objectives for the team,” Bell said. “He's not here to make up the numbers, he's here to see the team succeed. He also, of course, has been through this cycle before and he knows what it takes and how long it takes to achieve that and he's set us realistic objectives that are in line with that.
“Next year the obvious step forward for us is to move into the midfield and be competitive there. 2018 to be looking at podiums and so on, and then out beyond that, four, five years hence, looking at a proper championship-winning campaign. No rocket science in that.
“If you look at what it took when Red Bull bought Jaguar, when Renault previously bought Benetton or when Mercedes bought Brawn it took five years in each instance for them to win a championship. That's the sort of timescale, the sort of road map we've set ourselves. I think it's realistic and it's in line with corporate expectation.”
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Renault has endured a relatively underwhelming return to F1 in 2016 and currently sit ninth in the world constructors' championship with just three top ten results.
Palmer recorded his first F1 championship point at Sepang and despite 10th place on producing a small return Bell says it had a galvanising effect on the team.
“Of course corporately we're not satisfied running around in tenth place and scoring single points,” he said. “Actually that single point meant a lot to us.
“I've won a lot of points in Formula One over the years and that point meant more to me than perhaps any other. It's a great motivator and it really lifted team moral so actually it was quite an important achievement.”
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