Despite suffering from major reliability and pace problems at the start of the 2014 season, Formula One engine manufacturer Renault claimed three Grand Prix wins last year – all from Red Bull Racing and its Australian pilot, Daniel Ricciardo.
Obviously, Renault would like to come out of the gate much better in 2015 and also close down its horsepower gap to the Mercedes-powered teams.
As Lotus has gone to Mercedes power and Caterham is still fighting for its place on the grid, Renault will only supply Red Bull (with drivers Ricciardo and Daniil Kvyat) and its junior team, Scuderia Toro Rosso (Carlos Sainz Jr. and Max Verstappen).
Time will tell if the narrowed focus will lead to better performance on the track for Renault. But its managing director, Cyril Abiteboul, made it clear in a recent interview with a French TV network that he expects just that.
“We estimate that our gap to Mercedes at the end of the 2014 season was about 60 horsepower,” Abiteboul told Canal+. “We hope to close this gap by half at the [season-opening Australian Grand Prix] in Melbourne.
“Unlike Mercedes, we will start the 2015 season with the 2015 version of our engine. To date, we have used about two-thirds of allowed  tokens to change our engine this year.
“My goal is to claim at least five wins this season.”
Abiteboul also discussed recent momentum behind the idea of upping the horsepower of F1 engines, which he endorses – as long as the price tag of such a change is not too large.
“Renault will not object to the idea of [F1 supremo] Bernie Ecclestone, to make engines more powerful, and to make more sound, [so long as] costs remain under control,” he said.
“The idea is attractive, but it seems that it is already too late [for] 2016. 2017, however, is ideal timing.”