Formula 1 engines are not yet ready to break through the 1000bhp mark according to Renault managing director Cyril Abiteboul. The Frenchman admitted the figures may come close, but will not enter four digit numbers in 2017.
"I think the top performance of the power units will be between 900 and 950hp," he told Germany's Auto Motor und Sport. "The teams counting on 1000hp may be a bit too optimistic -- I think not even Mercedes will achieve it. But it definitely is achievable within the current regulations. We have some radical concepts to jump ahead, but not for this season. We need more time."
Renault will be hoping that they can make another leap in performance on the engine side in a bid to catch the dominant Mercedes power unit. Abiteboul said that they are targeting 2018 to surpass Mercedes in terms of power.
"We do not assume that we will be with Mercedes at the start of the season. But we like to believe we are close enough to have Red Bull fight against them if they build a good chassis. And I'm sure they will. Our goal is to overtake the Mercedes engine in 2018."
Renault confirmed earlier this week that they would be bringing their first engine upgrade of the season to the Spanish Grand Prix, in which they hope they will match Ferrari's engine.
Renault supply Red Bull with power units (although they are tagged as Tag Heuer), but run different fuel and oil partners. Abiteboul said that this will not compromise on track performance.
"The power unit has been developed for our partner, so BP and Castrol. But we make sure that it also works with Exxon Mobil's petrol and oil for Red Bull and Toro Rosso. The engine will be the same for all three teams," he said.