Renault team principal, Cyril Abiteboul, has revealed just how far behind the Enstone team are with their engine power compared to the big teams.
After returning as a full works team in 2016, Renault have continued to head on an upward trajectory with P9 and P6 finishes in the Constructors’ Championship followed up with finishing best of the rest in P4 this season.
But there is a suggestion now that they have hit the proverbial glass ceiling as Abiteboul has disclosed information about how big the next step they need to take.
“We’re missing about 15 to 20 kilowatts of engine power [20-27bhp] in the race, which under certain conditions could be made up for by the Red Bull chassis,” Abiteboul told Auto Motor und Sport.
“But in qualifying, we estimate our deficit at 40 kilowatts [53bhp], and that’s significant.
“With a customer engine from Mercedes or Ferrari, we would have qualified in seventh place in Abu Dhabi.
“This shows that we have a better chassis than our competitors [in the midfield], 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.
“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.”
Abiteboul has also had another little pop at their former partners, Red Bull, for their constant praise of their new engine manufacturers, Honda.