Renault manager Cyril Abiteboul has said the Formula One team is preparing a new platform for its engine, including technology yet to debut on the track.
“I prefer to be conservative in the expectation for the first initial running of the engine at the start of the season,” Abiteboul told f1technical.
“It is an engine that offers the potential to cope with an awful lot of development. We have lot of ideas of concepts in the pipelines, most of them, as far as I am aware, have not been seen at the track.”
The unit for the Australia Grand Prix will be upgraded, with plans to deploy it at the Spanish Grand Prix.
“Clearly I am not going to disclose anything, but we are super excited by the level of innovation that this new platform offers. So it is a choice that we are not making for the start of the season, but we are definitely making for the long term.”
Abiteboul said that discussions took place to weigh the benefits of building a new unit against the risk of the move.
“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, but we have not gone for that. We have gone for a very aggressive option, which is that there is no time.”
However, he said there were concepts of reliability and stability that were more important than immediate upgrades in performance.
“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 to take risk. We will be focusing on reliability with that new concept of engine, which will be a new concept I can confirm that.”
“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.”
He said Renault was targeting the number one spot for their engine.
“We are committed to having the best engine in the grid. Not just within 1 percent, but to have the best. And as I said, we think we have a number of ideas of technological concepts that can allow us to be better than Mercedes in the future.”
The Renault Sport Formula One Team finished ninth in the 2016 Constructors’ Championship, with their last win being in 2006. Drivers Nico Hülkenberg of Germany and Briton Jolyon Palmer are to race for them in the 2017 Formula One season.