Renault remains optimistic the 2019 Formula 1 regulation tweaks could provide it an opportunity to shake-up the pecking order despite the sizeable gap it needs to bridge this winter.

While comfortably finishing fourth and at the top of the F1 midfield last season, the team suffered with a significant performance gap between its 2018 package compared to the top three teams Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull.

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Renault F1 team executive director Marcin Budkowski estimates his team needs to make up “over a second and a half” and feels if the French manufacturer is to climb up the F1 order it must maximise its own performance while hoping others falter.

“Realistically if you look at the situation last year and the gaps, recovering over a second and a half of performance over one winter is nearly impossible,” Budkowski said. “Now we have a regulation change so that could have influenced the pecking order.

“There’s some changes on the front as well that could jeopardise other people’s performance or reliability. They are external factors but we are not in control of these.

“From our point of view it’s really to get the best possible out and do the best possible job with the regulations, do our homework and reach our targets.

“Overall the pecking order is a question of relative performance. If we reach our targets of performance we should be progressing compared to last year and then if the others don’t do as good a job then it’s going to be good for us.”

Budkowski also sees an opportunity on the engine side with Red Bull opting to ditch Renault power for a new partnership with Honda. While Renault remains confident of its own gains the team chief hopes developments in correlation to its rivals can produce a pecking order jump.

“Definitely any kind of shake-up is an opportunity,” he said. “It’s a threat as well.

“We are making progress on our engine development. I’m sure Honda, Mercedes and Ferrari are all making progress as well. In relative terms, we’ll see where they end up.”

Budkowski joined Renault from the FIA just over 12 months ago in a controversial appointment with the tech chief previously responsible for working with all teams to ensure the compliance of their cars, effectively giving him intimate technical details of all F1 teams.

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