2017 F1 changes a ‘good opportunity’ for Renault to catch up

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Renault Formula 1 chief Frederic Vasseur is confident that the changes to the technical regulations for the 2017 season will offer the French marque a “good opportunity” to catch up with its rivals after a tough campaign.

Renault announced last December it would be returning to F1 as a constructor after six years away, taking over the Lotus operation at Enstone.

The financial difficulties faced by Lotus prior to the takeover made 2016 a year of rebuilding for Renault, limiting its performance.

Kevin Magnussen scored Renault’s sole top-10 finish of the season so far in Russia, finishing seventh. Teammate Jolyon Palmer is yet to score a point.

This prompted Renault to decide early on to focus on 2017, with Vasseur telling the official F1 website that although the challenge to catch up is sizeable, next season offers a chance.

“Yes, we do consider 2017 a good opportunity for us,” Vasseur said.

“Right now we are using a 2015-designed car that was built around a Mercedes engine, so when switching to a Renault engine we suffered from the very beginning.

“It is a fact that we are not building the 2017 car based on the 2016 one, but on the 2015 car – and that is a lot of catching-up! But as I just said, 2017 holds a good opportunity for us.

“Yes, right now it is a bit stressful to manage such a huge gap based on the structure that we have – but we are working hard on it.”