Renault: Red Bull pace will be 'painful' benchmark

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Renault believes the pain of potentially being beaten by customer team Red Bull this year will actually be a positive in highlighting how much progress it needs to make.

The French car manufacturer is under no illusions about how long it is going to take it to get back to the front of F1, with chairman Carlos Ghosn laying out a three-year master plan to just become regular podium contenders.

Engine parity

However, Renault will be given an instant indicator of how much work it has to do on the chassis front, with Red Bull sticking with the French car manufacturer in 2016, even though its power units will be badged as TAG Heuer.

Nick Chester, Renault's chassis technical director, thinks it a tough ask for his team to be ahead of Red Bull on the aero front this year, but welcomes the fact there will be no hiding his own team's short comings.

"It gives us a chassis benchmark and that might be quite painful, but it is sort of good knowledge," Chester told Motorsport.com.

"We know Red Bull make a very good chassis. We will know the lap time difference and it will be a target.

"And, to be honest, we don't expect to be at their level this year. We need to start improving the team and building towards it."

Rebuilding phase

Although Lotus impressed last year by delivering strong results – including a podium in Belgium – despite a lack of budget, Chester is open that things may be a bit harder this time around.

"For this year we are realistic," he said. "We have got a lot of building up the team to do and we want to be reliable and show we can improve during the year.

"But we are not setting a championship target, nor a championship position. We just want to do a credible job and start to show that we can improve."

Mercedes and Ferrari gone

Chester is also convinced on one thing: that the front of the F1 field is going to be dominated by Mercedes and Ferrari in 2016.

He thinks that their growing rivalry will have pushed both to new heights for the new season, which will help them edge them clear of the opposition.

"I think both of those teams are going to move away from Williams," he said. "I don't know where Red Bull will be, but I would imagine around there.

"Force India will be trying to be in that fight, but whether they will or not I don't know. But I think the first two will probably be reasonably clear."

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Teams Red Bull Racing , Renault F1 Team
Article type Breaking news