Renault is tipped to make considerable progress with its power unit in 2016, as the works team prepares to unveil its new race livery. After the Lotus buyout, the Enstone team has been running in familiar black during testing but is expected to switch to Renault's traditional yellow - with a weight-saving matte finish - for the race season.
Renault has announced that the livery will be shown mid next week in Melbourne, but was giving little away about the colours. "Black, blue, yellow, red, striped?" the French carmaker teased. The works team aside, Renault is also expected to put its full concentration into improving the power unit in 2016, after two seasons of sub-standard performance with Red Bull in the 'power unit' era so far.
Despite the re-branding of the engines as Tag-Heuer, Red Bull is looking forward to the progress. Auto Motor und Sport claims Renault's step forward since the end of last year has been modest, but a 35 horse power step for Canada is now scheduled. "The jump should be as big as the one made last year by Ferrari," declared Red Bull team boss Christian Horner.
Also making progress since 2015 is McLaren's works partner Honda, although comments by Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button suggest the actual power leap has not been huge. "A little more (power) will come for Melbourne through the software," said team boss Eric Boullier.
There is scepticism in the paddock, however, about just how much progress McLaren-Honda can make in 2016 after the unmitigated disaster of last year. "The first season with Honda was completely awful," former F1 driver Mika Salo told Finland's Ilta Sanomat newspaper. "The winter tests have shown an improvement, but will it be enough? It's hard to say, but they will surely make some kind of improvement," he added. (GMM)
Bahrain International Circuit - Winter testing