JANUARY 4, 2016
No overnight fix for Renault problems
Success will not come overnight for Renault in the wake of the Lotus buyout.
That is the warning of Mario Illien, whose company Ilmor has been signed up by the French carmaker to help power its return to the top in formula one.
Amid the struggle so far in F1's new 'power unit' era, Renault's premier partner Red Bull enlisted the services of Illien - a renowned F1 engine guru - last year.
As the relationship between Renault and Red Bull broke down, however, the full fruits of Illien's work did not materialise.
But he has now been signed up directly by Renault for the new works team effort from 2016.
"I signed a contract with Renault two weeks ago," Swiss Illien confirmed to the Sonntagsblick newspaper.
Ilmor is engaged across the world of motor sport, and Illien said he wants 2016 to see the company record its 300th victory.
But as for the F1 project, he warned that Renault may have to wait for the top step of the podium.
"Time is too short" for victory, Illien is quoted as saying by veteran correspondent Roger Benoit in an interview over the holiday period.
"First, we must improve the efficiency."
The wait for improvement proved too much for Red Bull last year, as the frustration led to the re-branding of the team's engines as 'Tag Heuer' for 2016.
Junior team Toro Rosso, meanwhile, jumped ship to Ferrari power.
"I have to say there was a little bit of frustration on the track," admitted Renault managing director Cyril Abiteboul.
"We would have liked to do a better job for Red Bull and Toro Rosso, but we always knew it was a long-term game to fix the issues we had.
"So hopefully we now have the strategy, the time and the resources to do that in the next few years," he added.