What Red Bull needs from Renault to fight Mercedes in F1 2017

Christian Horner believes Red Bull can feature in the 2017 Formula 1 title fight if engine supplier Renault can get within 3% of rival manufacturer Mercedes' performance

What Red Bull needs from Renault to fight Mercedes in F1 2017

Mercedes stole a march on its rivals when the 1.6-litre V6 hybrids were introduced ahead of the 2014 season, but Renault has made gains and the French manufacturer is hopeful of further closing the gap this term.

Red Bull boss Horner said during 2016 that the gap was around 35Kw - around 45 horsepower - and in percentage terms, it was estimated to be just above 5%.

Speaking prior to the off-season, Horner said halving the gap would put Red Bull in a position to battle at the front.

"I think if we got back within 3%, which is where we were with the V8, then you're in the hunt from there," he told Autosport's sister title Motorsport.com.

"And hopefully, with stability, we should be able to get there."

But Renault managing director Cyril Abiteboul suggests it is not as simple as saying a 3% horsepower deficit will make Red Bull an automatic title contender.

"Clearly last season if they had been within 3% that would have been better, but I am not sure that would have been enough to fight for the championship," said Abiteboul.

"We know where they want to be.

"We are committed to having the best engine in the grid, not just within 1%, but to have the best.

"And we think we have a number of idea of technological concepts that can allow us to be better than Mercedes in the future."

Horner believes the struggles Renault encountered with performance and reliability in 2015 proved crucial in helping the French manufacturer get back on the right path.

"The difficulties we had were the catalyst for positive change," said Horner.

"That change has happened and the benefit we started to see through the course of the year."

The regulations have been overhauled for this year, with faster, wider cars with wider front and rear wings plus bigger tyres.

Despite the sweeping changes to the aerodynamic rules, Horner believes engines will remain important.

"One could argue that the engine becomes more important because the drivers will spend more time at full throttle because the cars have more downforce," said Horner.

"There'll potentially be more drag on the cars so engines will play a key role but like with all these things it's always a combination of the two.

"With stability in the rules, hopefully we should see engines over the next couple of years really converge."

shares
comments
Villeneuve: 1997 glory and the regrets that followed
Previous article

Villeneuve: 1997 glory and the regrets that followed

Next article

Sauber's 2017 Formula 1 car to make first appearance in filming day

Sauber's 2017 Formula 1 car to make first appearance in filming day
How a bad car creates the ultimate engineering challenge Plus

How a bad car creates the ultimate engineering challenge

While creating a car that is woefully off the pace is a nightmare scenario for any team, it inadvertently generates the test any engineering department would relish: to turn it into a winner. As Mercedes takes on that challenge in Formula 1 this season, McLaren’s former head of vehicle engineering reveals how the team pulled of the feat in 2009 with Lewis Hamilton

The under-fire F1 driver fighting for his future Plus

The under-fire F1 driver fighting for his future

Personable, articulate 
and devoid of the usual
 racing driver airs and graces,
 Nicholas Latifi is the last Formula 1 driver you’d expect to receive death threats, but such was the toxic legacy of his part in last year’s explosive season finale. And now, as ALEX KALINAUCKAS explains, he faces a battle to keep his place on the F1 grid…

Formula 1
Aug 13, 2022
The strange tyre travails faced by F1’s past heroes Plus

The strange tyre travails faced by F1’s past heroes

Modern grand prix drivers like to think the tyres they work with are unusually difficult and temperamental. But, says  MAURICE HAMILTON, their predecessors faced many of the same challenges – and some even stranger…

Formula 1
Aug 12, 2022
The returning fan car revolution that could suit F1 Plus

The returning fan car revolution that could suit F1

Gordon Murray's Brabham BT46B 'fan car' was Formula 1 engineering at perhaps its most outlandish. Now fan technology has been successfully utilised on the McMurtry Speirling at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, could it be adopted by grand prix racing once again?

Formula 1
Aug 11, 2022
Hamilton's first experience of turning silver into gold Plus

Hamilton's first experience of turning silver into gold

The seven-time Formula 1 world champion has been lumbered with a duff car before the 2022 Mercedes. Back in 2009, McLaren’s alchemists transformed the disastrous MP4-24 into a winning car with Lewis Hamilton at the wheel. And now it’s happening again at his current team, but can the rate of progress be matched this year?

Formula 1
Aug 11, 2022
Why few could blame Leclerc for following the example of Hamilton’s exit bombshell Plus

Why few could blame Leclerc for following the example of Hamilton’s exit bombshell

OPINION: Ferrari's numerous strategy blunders, as well as some of his own mistakes, have cost Charles Leclerc dearly in the 2022 Formula 1 title battle in the first half of the season. Though he is locked into a deal with Ferrari, few could blame Leclerc if he ultimately wanted to look elsewhere - just as Lewis Hamilton did with McLaren 10 years prior

Formula 1
Aug 9, 2022
The other McLaren exile hoping to follow Perez's path to a top F1 seat Plus

The other McLaren exile hoping to follow Perez's path to a top F1 seat

After being ditched by McLaren earlier in his F1 career Sergio Perez fought his way back into a seat with a leading team. BEN EDWARDS thinks the same could be happening to another member of the current grid

Formula 1
Aug 8, 2022
How studying Schumacher helped make Coulthard a McLaren F1 mainstay Plus

How studying Schumacher helped make Coulthard a McLaren F1 mainstay

Winner of 13 grands prix including Monaco and survivor of a life-changing plane crash, David Coulthard could be forgiven for having eased into a quiet retirement – but, as MARK GALLAGHER explains, in fact he’s busier than ever, running an award-winning media company and championing diversity in motor racing. Not bad for someone who, by his own admission, wasn’t quite the fastest driver of his generation…

Formula 1
Aug 7, 2022