Renault managing director Cyril Abiteboul claims that their engine is now matching the power of Ferrari’s.
Despite losing out to Mercedes and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen in 2019, Ferrari has been credited as having the most powerful engine on the grid, with Mercedes and Honda just behind.
But now Renault has thrown their name into the ring – the works team suffered a poor campaign slipping from P4 in the Constructors’ in 2018 to P5 this season, though they did help customer team McLaren to that P4 spot while Carlos Sainz earned P6 in the Drivers’ Championship.
McLaren will return to Mercedes power from 2021, leaving Renault without a team to supply, but Abiteboul is adamant that they are matching Ferrari for power.
“According to our measurements, Ferrari and we currently have the most powerful engines in race trim. Then comes Honda and then Mercedes,” he is quoted as having told Auto Motor und Sport.
But, Mercedes’ engine boss Andy Cowell has a different view on the engine rankings in F1.
“The differences between Honda, Renault and us are minimal. Only Ferrari currently stands out”, he said.
“Engine power is really hard to single out. “In the race, a rival car might benefit from a slipstream, DRS, be in full attack mode or saving its tyres.”
Mercedes CEO and team principal Toto Wolff said that as time progresses the trend is always for engine performance to converge.
“I think you will see, over the long-term [the] trend on engine performance is that it will stabilize,” said Wolff at the season-ending Abu Dhabi GP.
“I think we have seen outliers in engine performance, we have seen very good races with Ferrari, we have seen Renault doing a step up and then the same way that has stretched us, so I think, looking over many years’ cycle, these gains will get smaller.
“Like in any mature industry, the marginal gains tend to decrease and I have no doubt that this will happen.”