Renault make hard to believe engine claim as Ricciardo tips big 2020 jump

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Renault boldly claims to have matched Ferrari in terms of engine power in race trim following big gains in 2019.

A lack of performance was always Red Bull's biggest complaint during their partnership in the turbo-hybrid era, but after splitting at the end of 2018, the French manufacturer made a big push to improve versus their rivals.

Though it meant some initial reliability problems, it worked with Renault's best results coming on two power-dominant circuits in Canada and Italy and that led Cyril Abiteboul to make the frankly unbelievable assertion.

“According to our measurements, Ferrari and we currently have the most powerful engines in race trim. Then comes Honda and then Mercedes,” he reportedly told Auto Motor und Sport.

Mercedes engine chief Andy Cowell poured cold water on that suggestion, however...

“The difference between Honda, Renault and us is minimal. Only Ferrari currently stands out”, he said.

“Engine power is really hard to single out. In the race, a rival car might benefit from a slipstream, DRS, be in full attack mode or saving its tyres.”

Still, with the power unit seemingly sorted, Renault is now focusing on their chassis for 2020 which was the biggest weakness versus their midfield rivals.

And so when Daniel Ricciardo declared "we will get a lot better" next year after the Abu Dhabi GP, the Australian is sure it wasn't just words.

“Putting it bluntly I’m not really a speechmaker,” he said.

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“I know I like to talk a lot, but I’m not going to say, ‘we’ll do better next year boys’ if I really don’t think we will. I’m not just going to massage their shoulders and tell them what they want to hear.

“Even in myself I know I’ll get better, so that’s one variable that I know is going to change for the better. So even that alone will improve and yeah, I think we have a bit in hand [in the car] and we certainly have the resources and the budget to do so. So, yeah, it’s optimism.”