Red Bull’s Christian Horner is buoyed by the improvements made to the Renault power unit, following a fourth place finish for Daniel Ricciardo at the season-opening Australian Grand Prix.
Renault endured a difficult 2015 season when its power unit struggled in terms of both reliability and pace. Red Bull was a vociferous critic of Renault’s performance, nearly severing its ties with the French manufacturer.
Although Renault has spent the least amount of tokens of any engine maker over the winter, Horner takes encouragement from the steps taken by the Viry-Chatillon based outfit.
“I think the power unit's definitely made progress over the winter,” Horner said. “There's still a long way to go but it's great that, particularly in race conditions which is what we saw in testing, there has been progress in performance.
“There's still some way to go but hopefully the guys will take back a lot of encouragement that they're going in the right direction.”
Ricciardo echoed Horner’s statements, saying he could overtake some of the faster Mercedes- and Ferrari-powered cars with apparent ease - something that was unthinkable of 12 months ago.
"I definitely think we can feel an improvement compared to last year," said Ricciardo. "I was able to pass some faster cars like the Toro Rosso, the Williams and the Force India, so that was encouraging.”
Renault has returned to Formula 1 as a full time constructor and is bolstering its staff across both chassis and engine departments, apart from infusing more funds into its grand prix racing programme.
by Rachit Thukral