Date: 16th January 2017 at 8:45am
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French manufacturer Renault are aiming to match their German rivals Mercedes by 2018.

Renault only returned to Formula One as a fully fledged manufacturer in 2016 following a late and delayed takeover of the former Lotus team.

Last season was a season of transition and that period is likely to overlap well into 2017.

But the potential for their performance was seen last season, when Red Bull Racing, who run Renault power-units under the branding of Tag Heuer, improved greatly throughout the season to over take Ferrari in the constructors championship.

The turnaround was impressive, considering less than a year earlier Red Bull Racing wanted to dump the Renault power-unit, after the switch from V8 to V6 Turbo-Hybrid caught out Renault.

But whilst Renault have enjoyed success in the past with Red Bull Racing, most notably the four consecutive titles with Sebastian Vettel, it’s success under their own team as they enjoyed with Fernando Alonso that they are really striving for.

‘I think it’s important that we completely catch up to Mercedes, which we hope to be able to achieve at the start of 2018.’ Renault managing director Cyril Abiteboul said at the Autosport International Show as quoted by Sky Sports.

‘Clearly we have disappointed with the new generation of engine with the new power unit, It’s not in the Renault DNA to disappoint either the fan or the customer team. Obviously Red Bull were very vocal about it.

‘I think we were a bit complacent in what we were doing, based on the success we had with Red Bull with the V8, not looking at the big new regulation change and power unit.’

‘We have put together a clear, long-term road map of the innovation we want to bring to F1 and more specifically the power unit, They will support us in this quest for a championship by 2020.’

But whilst Renault are making all the right noises in the media, clearly there are still changes afoot in the background, the latest being Renault team principal Fred Vasseur resigning.