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Renault's main focus on engine development

NEWS STORY
09/12/2018

Its issues with Haas aside, Renault took a deserved fourth in the team standings, effectively winning the 'B championship', or 'Formula 1.5 championship' as Gene Haas called it.

However, while the French team, finished comfortably ahead of Haas and the rest, it was 297 points down on third-placed Red Bull and 533 on champions Mercedes.

Convinced it had a good chassis, team boss Cyril Abiteboul admits that engine development is the main target as the French team heads into its fourth season since its return.

"We're missing about 15 to 20 kilowatts of engine power in the race," he tells Auto Motor und Sport, "which under certain conditions could be made up for by the Red Bull chassis. But in qualifying we estimate our deficit at 40 kilowatts, and that's significant."

Indeed, that 40 kilowatt deficit works out in excess of 50 bhp.

"With a customer engine from Mercedes or Ferrari we would have qualified in seventh place in Abu Dhabi," he insists. "This shows that we have a better chassis than our competitors, but also shows we are not as good as the three top teams.

"That's why the main focus at first is on engine development," the Frenchman continues. "Next year, I don't want to have to say anymore that we lacked too much power in qualifying. There's no reason why we shouldn't close the gap to Mercedes and Ferrari with the engine over the winter. With the chassis it will take a little longer."

Given the enormity of the gap to Mercedes and Ferrari, Abiteboul admits that making such a big step is not the work of a moment, however, he would dearly enjoy getting one over on Honda and Red Bull.

"It's hard for me today to set targets for next year," he admits. "In sport, that always depends a bit on the performance of the others. But if the curve points upwards like ours, you want this trend to continue.

"Maybe we won't be able to do that in terms of our world championship position, but we want to reduce the gap to the top.

"Let's wait and see what happens with Red Bull and Honda... Red Bull never gets tired of telling how good Honda is compared to us, but may I say that Toro Rosso is still behind us."

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