Renault says it has made a “substantial” step forward with its 2019 engine as it bids to close the gap to Formula 1’s top three teams.
The team revealed images of its 2019 RS19 alongside a show car featuring the team’s 2019 wing at its Enstone factory on Tuesday.
Renault F1 managing director Cyril Abiteboul was particularly bullish about the progress made on the engine front.
“No figure – but it is substantial,” said Abiteboul, when asked by Autosport about the scale of the power step made.
“The furthest I will go is that it is the biggest we have ever done since the V6 [turbo-hybrid engine] introduction.”
Abiteboul said Renault’s engineers had learned lessons from the spec C engine that was raced by Red Bull last year, but that it’s 2019 design is a new one.
“It is very much new, and it is just pushing further the concept that we introduced and tested successfully with Red Bull – the C-spec that we elected not to run,” he said.
“But it is OK, because we had enough information and feedback by getting it on the Red Bull. It has really been pushed much further with this year’s engine.”
Renault finished fourth in the constructors’ championship last year, but knows it faces a big task to try to break into the top three in 2019.
Abiteboul said specific targets had not been set but in general terms he thinks the most important thing was for the gap to the top three to reduce this year.
He added doing so would put Renault on course to fulfil its long-term ambition of fighting for podiums in 2020 and wins the following year.
“To a certain degree I don’t like what I am going to answer but I’d like to say that the most important thing is that we don’t stop, we don’t break the momentum that has started,” said Abiteboul.
“For three years it is clear that we have a nice and steady progression, which is good both at the track and at the factory. I don’t want to say anything that would be killing that.”
“In order for the progression to keep on continuing to be here, we need a number of success stories.
“Last year the progress in the championship was in general a success story, and I think it is fair to say that more progress in the championship will take a bit longer.
“That is very clear. We are humble and professional enough to know that.
“But I think it is important to have some glimpses or demonstrations that our ambitions are correct.
“I would like and I believe that this can come from the engine side, where we have had in particular a very, very strong winter. So that will be typically a good season.
“On the chassis side, the Enstone side, we have the structure but it is going to take a bit of time before the structure can turn into a race winning car.”