New Renault F1 boss Cyril Abiteboul says that the French company is well advanced with the 2015 version of its power unit, which like those of the other manufacturers has had to be developed in line with the FIA’s homlogation rules.
“The engine world is not exactly the same as the chassis world,” he said today. “In the sense that with the homologation you are not free to develop the engine, and therefore what we can do this year is fairly limited. What we need to focus on right now is to get reliability sorted out, because clearly what we are delivering on track is not acceptable for some of our customers. We need to fix that, clearly; this is for this season and see what can be done from a performance perspective.
“Next year, we are quite well advanced actually, there was already the first fire up of next year’s engine on the dyno this week, so there is a programme. It’s going well, we need to improve performance, but it’s already interesting to see this weekend with all the changes chassis-wise and engine-wise that there is some progress, so hopefully it will be confirmed tomorrow.”
Meanwhile Abiteboul – whose move from Caterham back to Renault was first predicted here – is happy with his personal change of direction.
“Obviously there is an element of confidentiality, so I will not disclose everything. Let’s put it this way: I have been doing 10 years with Renault before joining Caterham. Before joining Caterham I left on very good terms with Renault, we are, I hope, long-time friends and I hope this will remain the case.
“Obviously the situation with Caterham was not working – the whole structure, from shareholder to the structure in place was just not delivering, so something had to change. Lots of things are changing. I think that’s good. From my perspective also I had to change. There was some appetite at Renault to turn around what is happening on the track, not just the engine situation, it’s wider than that, so there was an opportunity there and that’s it.”