The Renault Sports F1 team says it is getting extra motivation from the prospect of racing against Red Bull and McLaren in 2018.
Both teams will have the same specification Renault engines as the factory team this season. Red Bull is in the last year of its contract with the French manufacturer, while McLaren is transitioning from Honda.
“I accept it’s going to be high maintenance and going to be an interesting season to manage,” Renault boss Cyril Abiteboul told Motorsport.com.
He admitted that the upcoming season would be a challenging one for everyone at Enstone. However, he felt that there would also be significant benefits to the new arrangement.
“I think there is more positives than there is some negative in those relationships,” he insisted.
“There is clearly pride to be supplying engines to other great teams and their fantastic drivers.
“It’s interesting because it’s challenging,” he explained. “But at the same time it’s providing motivation to everyone.”
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Far from being concerned, Abiteboul actually welcomed the arrival of McLaren to the stable of Renault-powered teams.
“McLaren has a wealth of experience,” he said. “[They] can show us the way to push our engine. But also new ways of making sure we have a winning package.
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“Frankly I’m looking forward to it,” he added. “It’s good to be in a competitive environment. But it’s also good to be challenged.”
Renault advisor Alain Prost has previously said that the team might struggle to stay ahead of its engine customer squads in 2018.
“On paper we cannot beat Red Bull and McLaren,” he said last month. “For me, the pressure is positive, even if it is difficult.”
“In the end, if we want to win, we will have to beat everyone,” he added. “The comparison with the customer teams will help us to gain experience in order to get closer to the top teams.”
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