Kevin Magnussen believes Renault is fortunate a significant rule change in Formula 1 is due for 2017, that he hopes will allow the French manufacturer to make inroads on its rivals.
As predicted by all within Renault pre-season after its takeover of Lotus was completed in mid-December, the F1 team has struggled this year. At the fourth race, Renault finally put points on the board at the last race in Russia, with Magnussen claiming seventh place.
While under no illusions the task would be difficult this year, Magnussen feels the rules overhaul for next season, when the teams effectively have a clean slate in the design department, plays into Renault’s hands.
“We know Mercedes – the top three teams – are far in front,” said Magnussen. “It’s a big mountain, a big gap to close, but I think we are where we expected to be.
“It’s a massive challenge, but we are quite lucky there is a big rule change quite soon. But, that’s Formula 1, and we have to take advantage of that. It’s not a given that we’ll just catch up because of that, but it’s going to help a little bit.”
Despite Renault’s issues this season, in particular for Magnussen’s teammate Jolyon Palmer, the Dane is adamant the team is not simply holding out for the rule change, and that it will continue to develop the RS16 this year. Renault will introduce its updated power unit during next week’s post-Spanish Grand Prix test.
“We’re still pushing with this car and trying to make the best of this car,” added Magnussen. “It’s not a good idea to compromise next year for this car, but we are still doing everything we can without compromising stuff for next year.”