Renault have confirmed they are way ahead of schedule with their reliability programme compared to last year, and that bodes well for the upcoming season.
Performance wise, the French manufacturer have been much improved this season, but a radical new power unit concept for 2017, has seen reliability issues plague them.
Customer team Red Bull Racing, and driver Max Verstappen in particular have bore the brunt of those problems, with the Dutchman having to retire from a number of races this season because of engine failures, that ruined any chance of him fighting for the title this year.
Because of those failures, and the fact that the maximum number of engines a driver can run drops to three next year, the Milton Keynes based squad are calling for Renault to make a big step forward in 2018.
The French manufacture have taken heed of Red Bull’s request, and claim to have already progressed much further forward on the reliability front, than they had accomplished prior to 2017, as Renault Sport Managing Director Cyril Abiteboul explained to motorsport.com recently.
“We do have some parts that are capable of covering thousands of kilometres, in fact tens of thousands of kilometres – like the energy store or the MGU-K.
“But there are some specific parts that are giving us headaches, and for which reliability has been a concern this year. We know it is going to be a concern again next year, so it is still a bit early to confirm.
“But what I can tell you is that we are months in advance with our reliability programme in comparison to last year. So hopefully it will have a positive impact into next year.”
Abiteboul also confirmed that a strict plan had been put in place, which the team will follow to the letter, to ensure they meet all their targets in terms of reliability ahead of winter testing, to avoid any surprise reliability gremlins curtailing their test programme pre-season, leaving their teams and drivers free to rack up the mileage.
“We are going to slightly change our philosophy – and go to be much more rigid on planning team milestones of the different projects – on the engine project and the chassis project.
“We want to make sure that reliability is right as soon as the winter tests begin; that we are covering lots of mileage in the winter tests and so on and so forth. And hopefully that will propagate again into the season.
“It is always difficult because time is extremely limited but we want to improve all the elements of the package, and it is a question of how late you dare brake in relation to that.
“But Remi [Taffin, F1 engine chief] in particular is very rigid in his approach to sticking to milestones, in particular on the engine side.”