Renault sure it hasn't missed a trick
Renault is confident it has not "missed a trick" under the V6 turbo regulations and believes an evolution of its current power unit is capable of beating Mercedes.
The new V6 turbo era has brought about Mercedes domination at the start of this year, with five victories from five races. Much of the team's success has been attributed to the power unit, including a novel design for its turbo in which the turbine is split from the compressor to allow for neater packaging and reduced turbo lag.
But Renault, which has stuck with the more conventional option of keeping the turbine and compressor together, does not feel the need for a major overhaul of its power unit next year.
"I think we're more heading for evolution than revolution for the second year of these rules," Renault Sport F1 deputy managing director Rob White told ESPN. "From what we've seen from the dominant performance of the Mercedes car in the opening races, in terms of the power unit we can recognise a job well done, but we haven't yet detected the presence of a single silver bullet or magic missed trick. We believe we can get back into it and I'm sure we will do."
Under the regulations changes to the hardware of the power unit during the season are only allowed to be made for reliability, cost or safety reasons, so Renault will have to wait until the winter before introducing any significant changes aimed at improving performance alone. White said Renault has already learned lessons from this season and would be making some changes over the winter.
"Longer term we need to be working on a bigger set of changes for next year because clearly over the winter there is a bit more regulatory freedom than what we have been permitted during the year, and of course we have to learn the lessons from this season, which didn't give the outcome we were looking for. We're in it to be competitive, to win and Renault has been in F1 for a long, long time, has had some very successful periods and bad patches in between, and there have been transitions, and now we have to transition from a bad patch this year to a successful patch in the future and we are currently heading in the right direction.
"Independent of what the rules say, the second of an engine family is always a difficult one to fit in because the real project timing means you need to start the second one before you have any real knowledge of the first one and if the first one is a bit late or in a bit of trouble, it amplifies that situation. In real life, the second year of an engine family is difficult to execute and that's something that we know about and we've tried to plan ahead for. But we don't have any reason to forecast widespread architectural upheaval up and down the grid."
White also revealed that Renault has given extra resources and financial backing to help deliver results.
"There's no hiding from the fact that we had to put in place a recovery plan, the intensity of which was above and beyond our planning. We've been supported by Renault in that, we've had additional resources from Renault to be able to execute that and that support continues. I don't particularly want to go into the budget impact over the past months and for the rest of the year, but what I can say without any question is that we've had the support of Renault from the CEO down through the engineering groups. In practical terms we've been helped at every step of the way."