Renault boldly put themselves second to Ferrari in F1 engine stakes

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Renault engine chief Remi Taffin believes the French manufacturer is second only to Ferrari in Formula 1's power stakes.

After years of underperforming in the hybrid era, much to the frustration of Red Bull, Renault would find major gains in performance for 2019 as highlighted by their results in Montreal and Monza.

Renault even claimed to have surpassed the 1000hp mark to the amusement of some, and now, assessing where they stand compared to their fellow suppliers, Taffin had made another bold claim.

“We are in a close battle with Mercedes and Ferrari in engine performance,” he told Germany's Auto Motor und Sport.

“Mercedes is a bit behind us, Ferrari a bit ahead. Honda is one step behind, but today we are no longer talking about differences of 50 kilowatts.

“Between Ferrari, Mercedes and us there is about five and 10 kilowatts. 

"At Honda, they’re maybe 15 or 20 kilowatts behind.”

Of course, verifying that claim is very difficult though it is true that the past year saw a strong convergence in engine performance, particularly after Ferrari were seeming pegged back by technical directives.

When it came to calling into question some aspects of the Italian team's engine, Renault appeared much less vocal than Mercedes and particularly Red Bull.

“Quiet is the wrong word, we just didn’t talk about it in public," Taffin claimed.

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“Our regular inquiries to the FIA were not made public. In the Ferrari case, the teams you mentioned decided differently.

“Sometimes you have an idea that could give you an advantage. However, you are not sure whether you are interpreting the rules correctly so you ask for clarification.

“If the FIA is satisfied with it in the end, we will not make it public. We want to keep the advantage to ourselves.”