APRIL 9, 2015
Renault can catch up without rule change
Renault insists it will not argue for a change of rules to help it catch up with F1's pacesetters.
After Mercedes utterly dominated last year as the new turbo V6 era began, Ferrari has demonstrated already in 2015 that it has caught up.
"I hope we have a race with those guys (Ferrari)," championship leader Lewis Hamilton, beaten two weeks ago by Sebastian Vettel in Malaysia, said ahead of the Chinese grand prix.
"They are just as quick as us on the straights and they had amazing pace in the last race," he told Sky.
Conspicuously lagging behind, however, is Renault, as works partner Red Bull suggests the French manufacturer even made a "retrograde" step compared to 2014.
Red Bull has arguing stridently for a change of rules, or 'equalisation' measures, fearing the status quo could see it and Renault permanently stranded.
But Renault's F1 chief Cyril Abiteboul insists it can catch up, "And for that we need no change in the regulations," he argued, according to Speed Week.
"I would never ask for a change in the regulations to catch up with a competitor," he insisted.
"I see no reason why we cannot come up to the level of Mercedes. It's just a matter of time," said the Frenchman.
Indeed, after an admittedly bad start in Melbourne, Renault says it upped its game for Malaysia and is set to improve yet further this weekend in China.
"Performance was improved in Malaysia, although we did keep some in reserve to safeguard reliability," said operations chief Remi Taffin.
"Now we are getting more confident in this area we can afford to be more aggressive and we should see better results on the straights, with a higher top speed," he added.
Abiteboul continued: "In Malaysia, we improved in terms of driveability but it was not possible to solve all the problems between Melbourne and Sepang.
"I would say we have solved 60 per cent of the problems, but that has already made a huge difference."
Red Bull boss Christian Horner said in Malaysia that the thought of Shanghai's extremely long straights was "depressing", given Renault's problems.
But Abiteboul said: "I do not think we will be miles behind Mercedes. We can see that from our simulations. We know what to do."