Renault's 2016 F1 car compromised by delayed takeover of Lotus

Renault's 2016 Formula 1 challenger is a "compromise" caused by the delay in confirming the takeover of Lotus, says technical director Nick Chester

There were months of protracted negotiations before Renault finally completed the takeover, and with plans for the new car already at an advanced stage, a move from Mercedes to Renault power meant the design team was unable to optimise the package in time.

"It was a challenge," Chester told Autosport. "Normally, once we get to May [of the previous year] it gets very hard to integrate a new power unit.

"We didn't know for sure until right at the end of the year so it was tricky.

"We had to change the back of chassis and the cooling layout so to do that in a month is a huge amount of work.

"It's not as optimised as I'd have liked. They are not big compromises but we didn't have enough time optimising it as we would have liked."

While the team used an old show car for its launch earlier this month (pictured), Chester is confident the new car will be ready for the first test, which starts on February 22.

"The guys responded really well, we have now been through crash testing, so we're homologated, and we're on track to get to the first test," he said.

"It wasn't easy and it's all going to be very tight but it's all doable.

"It's gone to plan incredibly well and that plan was so tight that had it not gone incredibly well, we would be struggling."

Financial problems last season meant Lotus was unable to develop its car but the baseline was fundamentally strong and it managed a shock podium in Belgium with Romain Grosjean.

As a result and with a stable set of regulations, Chester says the design team has stuck with the same philosophy.

"We didn't have to change the philosophy of the car, it's very similar," he said.

"Some characteristics we found gave a nice handling car and one drivers could get the maximum out of.

"We have carried that on and tried to take it further."

Previous article Toro Rosso will use Ferrari's final 2015-spec F1 engine this season
Next article How F1 teams prepare for winter testing