Renault’s F1 managing director Cyril Abiteboul has revealed that the power deficit of their 2018 F1 engine behind the strongest engines from Mercedes and Ferrari is two times bigger in qualifying than in the race but he sees no reason why this gap could not be reduced over the winter.
Since 2014, F1 cars are powered by 1.6-liter V6 engines and ERS and Mercedes has enjoyed the power advantage over most of their rivals while Ferrari is the only manufacturer that has managed to cut the gap and jump on their level.
But Renault and Honda still have a huge gap, especially in qualifying, so Red Bull as the strongest team with their 2018 engine could hardly fight for the pole positions. Because of the specific configuration of the track, they only succeeded in Monaco and Mexico, but in the race they were often much closer to their Mercedes and Ferrari rivals.
The Renault engine’s power deficit has also been a subject in interview for Auto Motor und Sport by their F1 chief Cyril Abiteboul, who controls the entire F1 operation, and says the gap in the qualifying is twice as big as in the race.
“The chassis is responsible for most of our gap,” commented Abiteboul Renault’s gap behind the leaders.
“The engine lacks 15 to 20 kW in the race [20 to 27 HP], which under certain conditions Red Bull chassis can compensate.”
“But in qualifying, our gap is estimated to be 40 kW [54 HP], which is a significant figure,” Abiteboul said and confirmed the recent statement by Red Bull’s team leader Christian Horner, who said 2018 F1 season would “look pretty different” with an additional 40 kW’.
“We would qualify for the seventh place in Abu Dhabi with the Mercedes or Ferrari engine, which shows that we have a better chassis than our rivals [from the midfield].”
“But it is still not good as the top three teams, so our focus is first on the development of the engine, and I don’t want to say next year that we still have a lot of gap in qualifying.”
“There is no reason why we should not reduce the gap for Mercedes and Ferrari over the winter, and with chassis it will take us a little longer.”
Renault’s power deficit has been on the petty much same level since mid-2016, when they also claimed that they were around 50 HP. In the meantime, Red Bull has been tired of Renault’s promises, just like McLaren was with Honda, and for 2019 they agreed a deal with Honda, which will work with two teams for the first time since their F1 return in 2015.