Renault Formula 1 chief Cyril Abiteboul has conceded the French manufacturer has been “too aggressive” to improve its power unit, resulting in a lack of reliability and recurring issues across the course of the 2017 season.

Renault customer teams Red Bull and Toro Rosso were left frustrated by a number of problems that sidelined their cars on a regular basis late in the year, while the works Renault outfit also encountered similar issues.

Red Bull has stressed the need for improvements from Renault in 2018 if it is to return to the front of the field, while incoming customer McLaren is also eager for a chance to fight with a reliable, capable power unit.

“You know I don’t want to make any promises. First thing will be reliability because we’ve seen this season that you need to walk before you run,” Abiteboul said.

“I think we’ve been on many occasions too aggressive in the way that we were trying to bring performance and extra power to the engine too quickly because of the expectation of all customers including the yellow cars.

“So I think we need to go step by step: first be reliable then accumulate as many miles as possible during the winter tests. I think it’s important for any chassis organisation.

“I understand, talking about Red Bull, that they changed their philosophy and are planning for the development of their car, but if the engine is not reliable it’s going to be useless. So we need to get that.

“If we have that, I am extremely comfortable and confident that we have the sort of technological bricks to bring to the engine in order to make steps and to catch Mercedes.”

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I would question why he would say this. Surely if there is a huge gap to span (and there is) step one would be to make bold design changes to deliver the same or better output as Merc and Ferrari, and when the test engines blow up, find out why and change the weakest component until they are reliable.

If reliability is the No1 objective then the engine will probably get heavier and less powerful, and as soon as attempts are made to increase power all those nice reliable components will need to be redesigned again and all that money and time will be wasted.

If you have enough power all you have to chase is reliability, if you only have reliability you have to chase both. My mum;s Renault Clio engine will get you to the finish ok, all season on one engine if all you want is reliability, use one of them and save some money.