Renault’s power unit will be on par with pacesetters Mercedes by the 2018 Formula 1 season, according to the French manufacturer’s engine chief Remi Taffin.
Since the introduction of V6 Hybrid power units in 2014, Mercedes has been the chart-topper, winning three successive championships largely on the basis of their engine prowess.
Although Renault made considerable progress in 2016, and has formulated an aggressive development plan for the upcoming season, it concedes that it will need another year to be on the same level as Mercedes.
"I don't think we will close the gap this winter, though I don't know, but the target is to be very close by the end of next year because the target was to be in a position in 2018 to fight somehow with these guys," Taffin told Autosport.
"We know more or less where they are and we can see we can get there. It's fair to say that '18 should be the year where we should level everything."
Taffin believes Renault’s effort to chase Mercedes will be aided by the fact that engine development will converge over the next few years due to stability in the regulations.
"We're not going to bring half a second every single winter and through a season. At some point, performance will be converging because of the nature of the regulations.
"2017 is key to making sure that the next step that we make into next year is the right one, which we are 99% sure of. But we need to make the most out of it.
"We're already seeing that we will have a good step into next season to start with. We're not going to overwork our first race specification and we will have a plan to do things in a sensible manner."
by Rachit Thukral
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