Renault has decided to go “very aggressive” with its 2017 F1 power unit, managing director, Cyril Abiteboul has confirmed.
After a dismal first year with the new V6 turbo-powered engines in 2015, Renault improved in 2016, winning two races with customer team Red Bull, but will opt for an all-new concept next season in a bid to move further forward.
Quizzed on the decision in an interview with Motorsport.com
and asked if it is a gamble to ditch the old concept, Abiteboul said: “It is a good question. Frankly we have had long discussions about that because at the point in time that everything is changing on the rest of the car, we could have taken a more conservative approach in trying to freeze what we have and focus on the chassis.
“But we have not gone for that. We have gone for a very aggressive option – which is that there is no time. If we want to be where we would like to be for 2018 or 2020, which is the next phase, when we want to target the top teams, we cannot afford to delay anything. So we need to accept to take risk.
“We will be focusing on reliability with that new concept of engine – which will be a new concept I can confirm that.
“It means that it may not be a big jump [initially] in terms of performance, simply for the reason that we want to make sure to introduce this concept that it is reliable and that will be the perfect platform to develop the performance for the next three to four years.”
Abiteboul also revealed that he thinks the new concept will herald the introduction of a number of 'firsts'.
“Definitely it is an engine that is offering the potential to cope with an awful lot of development. We have lot of ideas of concepts in the pipelines – most of them, as far as I am aware, have not been seen at the track,” he continued.
“Clearly I am not going to disclose anything, but we are super excited by the level of innovation that this new platform offers.
“So it is a choice that we are not making for the start of the season - I prefer to be conservative in the expectation for the first initial running of the engine at the start of the season - but we are definitely making for the long term.
“We are committed to having the best engine in the grid. Not just within 1 percent but to have the best. And as I said, we think we have a number of idea of technological concepts that can allow us to be better than Mercedes in the future.”
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