Formula 1

Cyril Abiteboul.

Renault reveal their tactic to try optimise performances in 2018

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Renault have acknowledged that the best way to hone the performance potential of their engines is to accept the grid penalties which will come their way at the back-end of the 2018 season. 

Controversy has been rife in pre-season with F1's rules being tweaked.

They now restrict drivers to three power units across the entire 21-race season before being penalised.

Christian Horner described the rule change as being "nuts", while reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton has spoken of his concerns that it will further restrict drivers from having the capability of being able to race flat-out.

The rule change could prove to be very problematic for both Renault and Honda, as the two have struggled with reliability in recent seasons.

Renault's boss Cyril Abiteboul knows the tweaks to grid penalty rules this year have caused Renault to reconsider the best way to cycle through the manufacturer's engines, which are run by Renault's factory team, Red Bull and McLaren.

"I don't want to say too much about it at this stage, because it's still early days," he said.

"But we knew this regulation was coming and we know what we had to do, and we are still a bit open-minded about the best way we want to cover the season.

"In particular, we are not assuming that we want to downgrade the performance potential of the engine because of reliability because of mileage.

F1 Winter Testing in Barcelona - Day Two

"We are also looking carefully at the evolution of the sporting regulations in terms of grid penalties.

"You may know that this has become a bit more flexible, a bit less painful, so we will factor that into the way we are building the plan for this year in terms of engine introduction and possible engine penalties if we have to or if we think that this is tactically in our advantage to do so. But it's too early days to talk about that."

When asked if he was acknowledging that Renault will have to start at least a couple of races from the back of the grid, Abiteboul said: ''I'm accepting and recognising the fact that in Formula One you need to optimise. You need to optimise potential.

"And if it's better for everyone to use four power units, four ICEs rather than three, we may take that decision, but it's really too early to talk about that.

Spanish F1 Grand Prix - Practice

"First I want to see where we are sitting in the pecking order in terms of mileage, in terms of reliability, in terms of performance against what we've measured on the dyno, and also the priorities that will be set between Enstone and Viry for the Renault team which is what we are doing the most.'

"We want to establish the baseline. We want to know a bit more about ourself, a bit more about the performance of the engine as it is right now. We want also to learn more about the car, about the competitiveness, where the other teams are.

"That's another thing that will factor into the debrief in the aftermath of the test, and from that point onward we will plan for the remainder of the season including in terms of the number of power units we want to use, in terms of potential of development and so on.''

The F1 Drivers' Championship starts in Melbourne on March 25. 

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