Renault has played down any suggestion that the prolonged championship battle in 2006 could harm the French squad’s tilt for a third successive crown next year.
Like Ferrari, Enstone-based Renault continued to develop the ‘R26’ until the very last race of the season in late October, meaning that only partial resources could be ploughed into the 2007 car.
Likely challengers for next year, then – notably McLaren-Mercedes – might be seen to have an advantage as their end-of-2006 focus was exclusively on improving for next year.
Asked if he saw the situation as a ‘handicap’ for Renault, technical director Bob Bell answered: “I think we have divided our resources effectively between the development of the R26 and the birth of the R27.
“(The 2007) project is completely on target.”
Indeed, Renault are accustomed to fighting for a world championship late in the season, after beating McLaren to the chequered flag last year.
But Bell, in charge of the chassis in England while colleague Rob White looks after the engine at the Viry factory in France, insisted: “The fact that we did the same thing last year doesn’t make it any easier now.
“Successfully managing these two programmes in parallel is an extremely demanding exercise.”
Do you think Renault has a chance of winning the world championship considering both their protracted battle this year and their driver pairing next year? Reply below with your comments.