Renault's Abiteboul targeting Toro Rosso as team to beat


Renault's Cyril Abiteboul considers Toro Rosso as a benchmark in 2017, stating that the French team will be disappointed if it fails to finish in front of the junior Red Bull squad in the Constructors' standings.

Both teams will be powered by the same engine this season, with the Faenza-based outfit switching from Ferrari back to Renault.

"This will be a transition year for Renault, but with a specific target," Abiteboul told France's Auto-Hebdo.

"Our objective is to demonstrate our ability to progress, and fight with good teams such as Williams and Force India - but in front of Toro Rosso which will be running the same power unit as us - for a fifth or sixth place in the championship."

Given Renault's difficult return to F1 as a full works team in 2016, the French outfit will have its work cut out for it but Abiteboul says the target follows the team's step by step planned progress.

"It will be a bit of a challenge," he admitted.

"In 2016, we cut in half the performance gap with Mercedes, which has gone from one second to half a second.

"For 2017, we want to cut that in half again in order to finish the season approximately 0.25s behind our main rival."

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