Renault hit the jackpot in 2005. Their car dominated the opening races, and it was only by mid season that the pressure from McLaren really left the Anglo-French team behind on the pace. Renault brought the fight back to McLaren at the end of the season to secure both championships. However, largely reported as a reliability run to the championship, the more conservative solutions on the Renault car belied its speed.
Ahead of their formal 2006 launch, Renault began testing their all-new R26. The first tests were significant, as the V8 engine had not run in a car up until that point. Instead, Renault ran the engine solely on the dyno in France, and the 2005 chassis ran with a V10 engine tuned to mimic the V8 power delivery.
Despite the team's immense resources, the decision not to modify a car to run the new engine was a brave one. Yet the team reasoned that the careful testing of the V8 would not be hindered without the only true test of an engine, which is to run on track.