After the amount of engine failures Renault suffered on the latest stages of the 2017 season and the new technical rules that are to be introduced in 2018 and that will limit the number of usable engines with no grid penalties from four to three; Renault has decided to focus, at least for the first stages of the season, the engine’s developement on its reliability rather than its performance.
“If you come to the first race and you start to have reliability problems, then that is not just that race, it compromises the whole season. You cannot afford to do that.” Said Renault’s managing director Cyril Abiteboul to Motorsport.com. “It is about setting the right baseline, having the right platform and building a plan for the season – trying in particular to synchronise development at the factory with the introduction of new engines because we are very limited.”
“The fewer engines you have the more rigid you need to be in the implementation of performance. So the focus is very much on reliability.” Added Abiteboul, whose engines will be used by McLaren, Red Bull and Renault Sport itself. “Frankly I think we’ve done the best that we could. Our project management, ethos and discipline has been exemplary. But as I say, when we will be on track, we will need to sign off a number of things and this is particularly the plan for test one. So don’t look at the laptime in Test one because everything will be massively tuned down for obvious reasons, but test two we want to run in a more representative mode.”
“Our target is more or less to start in Melbourne with the same performance level as we finished in Abu Dhabi,” Said Abiteboul admitting that there is no power improvement expected since 2017 due to the work being focused on reliability. “which is actually quite a decent performance baseline. And then we want to make it much more reliable, and make it in a way that we can extract the power in a consistent and sustainable manner, and not have to turn down the engine because of reliability or temperature concerns. That is the baseline.” Concluded the Frenchman. “Clearly power unit number two will be a step and power unit three will be another step.”