Renault will live up to its F1 history - Abiteboul

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As the dust settles at Renault following the shock exit of team principal Fred Vasseur, the French manufacturer is ramping up its discourse about bridging the gap to Mercedes on the power unit front.

Renault Sport manager Cyril Abiteboul believes that by 2018, it will have made great strides into Mercedes dominance and perhaps bridged the gap in terms of engine performance.

"Now we really have the appetite to demonstrate our capacity, true to what we have been doing in history," Abiteboul said at the Autosport International Show.

"Before being capable of innovating I think it's important that we completely catch up to Mercedes, which we hope to be able to achieve at the start of 2018."

Renault endured a disastrous 2015 campaign alongside partner Red Bull Racing, and the absence of a viable engine alternative for the Milton Keynes-based outfit was the only thing that kept the two partners together.

But Renault showed undeniable progress last season as Red Bull's two wins aptly demonstrated. Looking back, Abiteboul admitted that the company's success at the start of the decade has led it to become too 'complacent' .

"Clearly we have disappointed with the new generation of engine with the new power unit," he explained.

"It's not in the Renault DNA to disappoint either the fan or the customer team. Obviously Red Bull were very vocal about it.

"In 2015 it was about resetting, restarting from a clean sheet of paper. We changed a lot of the management structure and the processes in the French engine workshop.

"I think we were a bit complacent in what we were doing, based on the success we had with Red Bull with the V8, not looking at the big new regulation change and power unit."

On the subject of Renault's works effort which had a rocky start last season, the French manager adheres to the road map put in place, and assures that a return to the forefront of Grand Prix racing will be seen.

"We have put together a clear, long-term road map of the innovation we want to bring to F1 and more specifically the power unit. They will support us in this quest for a championship by 2020."

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