Such is Renault’s confidence in their coming upgrades that Cyril Abiteboul says if they were on the car right now, the team would be “easily in the points.”
Renault missed out on a top-ten showing at the Australian Grand Prix with Nico Hulkenberg beaten to the final points-paying position by Force India’s Esteban Ocon.
In fact it was Force India and Toro Rosso occupied P7 to P10 with Abiteboul conceding those two teams are Renault’s main rivals.
But while his drivers lost to them in Melbourne, he believes forthcoming upgrades – if Renault win the early development war – will allow Hulkenberg and Jolyon Palmer to get the better of their rivals.
“We have a team that is still growing and we have a lot to come,” Renault’s F1 managing director told Motorsport.com.
“But I am sure our direct competitors, like Toro Rosso and Force India, even though [in Australia] they had the upper hand, I am sure they are not sleeping and they will also be bringing updates.
“So it will be interesting to see who is bringing the most.
“I think clearly we have potential. We know what is in the pipeline, and it is exciting. And what we have in the pipeline, if we had it on the car now, it would allow us to be easily in the points.”
As for when Renault will introduce those upgrades Abiteboul said: “We have some stuff coming for race three onwards, and each time it is an increment of lap time.
“But I know we are not the only ones.
“It will be a very competitive season, it is going to be a hard season, a harsh season and everything will have to go extremely well so that you can make progress. It will be true for us, it will be true for Ferrari and Mercedes, and also Red Bull.”