Remi Taffin has admitted Renault still does not possess the best engine in formula one.
One year ago, the French marque found itself in Honda-like strife as the sport’s all-new turbo V6 era began.
But the FIA’s system of unfreeze ‘tokens’ for 2015 means that Red Bull’s works supplier has been able to substantially improve its power unit for the new season.
Red Bull chiefs Adrian Newey and Christian Horner, however, have admitted that Renault is unlikely to have been able to catch up with Mercedes so soon.
Now, even Renault’s operations chief Remi Taffin thinks the same.
“The main difficulty,” he is quoted by Russia’s f1news.ru, “is the operating modes of the engine — the new power unit is more difficult to configure than last year.
“However, when it comes to power, we have made a step forward compared to 2014.”
How much progress Renault has made relative to Mercedes and the obviously-improved Ferrari, however, is the real question.
“It’s hard to say,” Taffin admitted.
“I cannot say that the capacity of the power unit has increased by 5 or 10 per cent.
“To be honest, we are still behind in terms of performance and reliability, but Renault has won championships before without having the most powerful engine.”
So he said Mercedes remains the team to beat, even in 2015.
“Do not forget,” said Taffin, “that last year they finished with a second advantage over the others.
“It seems that they still are ahead of the rest, but we cannot know that for sure. I do think it’s possible that, compared with last year, little has changed.
“Mercedes is ahead, then Williams, Ferrari and Red Bull. The results in Melbourne will show if I’m wrong,” he added. (GMM)