Horner praises Renault for big step forward with 2016 power unit

Christian Horner - Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd

Christian Horner has heaped praise on Renault for getting their act together and providing Red Bull Racing with an engine that has brought them closer to the outright pace in 2016.

Red Bull were most critical of Renault during 2015, finding themselves languishing well off the pace and enduring a winless season, but the Viry-based engine makers are now receiving praise following the progress made to the power unit this year that has brought them closer to Mercedes at the front of the field.

Horner believes that the gap to Mercedes has been halved this season, and is hoping the progress made continues into 2017, where new regulations are set to make the pecking order in Formula 1 interesting.

“The most significant area is on the engine, and credit where’s credit’s due,” said Horner to Autosport. “The guys [at Renault], with the restructuring they put into place at the back end of last year, the philosophy changes made, the developments brought in, the engine has clearly made a step forward.

“We’ve probably halved the gap to Mercedes, and there seems to be a real direction, and good leadership technically at Viry.

“We’ve made progress on the chassis, and of course these things have to work in combination, but the biggest element I would say is the step forward in the engine.

“The engine we had this year was delivered absolutely on target to what was projected pre-season. So if they can do the same again, then hopefully we should really reduce that gap significantly to at least this year’s Mercedes – and who knows what they have in the pipeline for next year – but it should be another good step.”