That is the claim of Renault managing director Cyril Abiteboul, even though the Frenchman admitted the sport’s engine makers will come close to four-digit numbers in 2017.
“I think the top performance of the power units will be between 900 and 950hp,” he told Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport.
“The teams counting on 1000hp may be a bit too optimistic — I think not even Mercedes will achieve it. But it definitely is achievable within the current regulations,” Abiteboul added.
“We have some radical concepts to jump ahead, but not for this season. We need more time.”
Still, there is confidence. Red Bull’s Dr Helmut Marko said this week that Renault’s first upgrade in 2017 should bring the French-made engine up to Ferrari’s level, just behind Mercedes.
Abiteboul said: “We do not assume that we will be with Mercedes at the start of the season. But we like to believe we are close enough to have Red Bull fight against them if they build a good chassis. And I’m sure they will.
“Our goal is to overtake the Mercedes engine in 2018.”
He played down suggestions that because Renault and Red Bull have different oil and fuel partners in 2017, that could affect performance this year.
“The power unit has been developed for our partner, so BP and Castrol,” Abiteboul admitted. “But we make sure that it also works with Exxon Mobil’s petrol and oil for Red Bull and Toro Rosso.
“The engine will be the same for all three teams,” he said.