Renault to debut 'aggressive' new engine concept for 2017 season
Renault will debut a new engine concept in 2017 that it believes will deliver greater development potential and therefore huge gains later in the year and beyond as it looks to close the gap to its rivals, chiefly Mercedes, which it still lags behind in outright performance.
With the new power units now entering their fourth season, the rate of development is slowing and smaller steps are therefore expected next year, but Renault believes it can buck that trend by going down a completely new development path thanks to an "aggressive" overhaul of its design.
According to Renault's managing director Cyril Abiteboul, the French manufacturer isn't content with its power unit despite massive steps forward in 2016 and has taken a radical approach, rather than playing it safe and focussing purely on the chassis and aerodynamics.
"Frankly we have had long discussions about that because at the point in time that everything is changing on the rest of the car, we could have taken a more conservative approach in trying to freeze what we have and focus on the chassis," he told Motorsport.
"But we have not gone for that. We have gone for a very aggressive option. If we want to be where we would like to be for 2018 or 2020, which is the next phase, when we want to target the top teams, we cannot afford to delay anything. So we need to accept the risk."
Abiteboul warned not to expect immediate gains as Renault will instead be focussing on the reliability of the power unit before it begins extracting performance later in the season.
"We will be focusing on reliability with that new concept of engine - which will be a new concept I can confirm that," he said.
"It means that it may not be a big jump in terms of performance, simply for the reason that we want to make sure to introduce this concept that it is reliable and that will be the perfect platform to develop the performance for the next three to four years."