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Shift to 2017 focus ‘delicate’ – Vasseur

A decision is looming about how Renault will handle the transition from 2016 to 2017, team boss Frederic Vasseur has admitted.

It is widely believed that, with the French marque having taken over Lotus at the eleventh hour, Renault regarded 2016 as little more than a transitional season as it focused much harder on preparing for the new rules for 2017.

Asked if 2017 is a perfect opportunity for Renault, team boss Vasseur admitted to Spain’s El Confidencial: “Yes, but we have to make a decision on the splitting of efforts between this year and next.

“It is delicate,” said the Frenchman.  “On the one hand, we can really focus on the new rules, which is an advantage, but on the other hand it is very important for a racing team to have pressure ahead of each race.

“So if we give up in the short term, we could lose the competitive spirit,” he added.  “On the other hand we must find the best way to prepare for 2017.”

Vasseur said that while the new rules are positive for Renault, Mercedes for example is less happy.

“Everyone is playing their own game,” he said.  “The position of each team is based on self-interest, so that what Ron (Dennis) wants is different to what Toto (Wolff) wants.

“But then I think the common interest calls for more aggressive cars with more sound and bigger tyres,” added Vasseur.

Although new to F1, Vasseur is no stranger to the paddock after building up the successful GP2 outfit ART.

“In the sporting way not much has changed except I spend more time on politics and the media now,” he said.  “I’m losing weight because I have no time to eat!” Vasseur laughed.

F1 is now setting up in Monaco, where it has emerged that Renault has decided to release one version of its new engine upgrade for both the works team and customer Red Bull.

Insiders talk of a 35 horse power and half-second per lap boost.

“We have a thousand people concentrated on winning a tenth each week,” said Vasseur.  “If the engine is a couple of tenths, it would be a very, very big step forward.  But it will not put the car at the front of the grid.”