Renault engine improvement in 2016 was unexpected, says Taffin


World © Octane Photographic Ltd. Scuderia Toro Rosso STR11 – Daniil Kvyat and Renault Sport F1 Team RS16 – Jolyon Palmer. Friday 25th November 2016, F1 Abu Dhabi GP - Practice 1, Yas Marina circuit, Abu Dhabi.

Having been way down on power compared to the Mercedes engine in 2014 and 2015, Renault managed to turn things around last season, and that came as somewhat of a surprise to Renault Engine Chief Remi Taffin.

A company restructure, increased investment, and update packages introduced throughout the season, allowed the French manufacturer a solid start, and although its work team found times tough in their first year back as a full-time constructor, customer team Red Bull Racing went from strength to strength.

Renault have shown strong progression since almost breaking ties with Red Bull at the end of 2015, when the Milton Keynes based squad expressed their unhappiness at what they felt was dire performance from the French manufacturers engine, and have clearly learned from their early mistakes, as Taffin explained to Autosport.com recently.

“We’re sort of surprised that things have changed but we are now in a normal situation, so we should not be surprised.

“We’ve actually improved the product, its reliable and we can work on it and get the most out of it.”

Good reliability in 2016 helped Renault out no end in developing the power unit back at the factory, and the team have a renewed confidence in what is now achievable.

“It has allowed most of the people back in Viry to have a free mind, be creative and go forwards.

“It’s opposite to looking what’s going to happen tomorrow, we can look a bit further forward.

“When you draw up a plan in the winter, you just follow the plan and try to bring as much performance as you can.

“We’re happy with the year. We know that we still have some work to do and we’ve got the strong baseline now.”

Seeing Red Bull take second place in the constructors standings, also spurred the engine manufacturer on to keep pushing and improving, so that this year they may even be ready to challenge the force that is Mercedes.

“We never stopped working all together but you could say confidence is back.

“When you say ‘yes, we will bring power’ and you deliver on track and you can measure the power, that’s job done.

“There are no more question marks on ‘are we going to achieve that?’.

“That’s encouraging and is the sort of thing we need to keep working on to get the most out of the group.”