Friday 24 February at 08:35 :
Feb.24 (GMM) Renault is a "serious contender" amid the engine power battle in F1.
That is the claim of Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff, amid eyebrow-raising rumours about the 35 horse power step Renault has supposedly taken over the winter.
"That is an impressive number," Wolff admitted.
"Renault is a highly professional organisation and we regard them as a serious contender," he added. Renault supplies engines to its own works team as well as likely 2017 title contender Red Bull.
"I hope we have the best car, engine and drivers, but we cannot see it as self-evident."
However, the first reports about the performance of Renault's '95 per cent new' 2017 power unit are in fact alarming, as it reportedly failed as the new Toro Rosso was rolled out at Misano in Italy on Thursday.
Earlier, Renault engine boss Remi Taffin defended the "risk" taken with the new concept.
"The old concept was at the end of its possibilities," he is quoted by Auto Motor und Sport. "When necessary, you must take risks and we do not do it for fun.
"Last year we had a great reliability record -- now we are asked why we are doing something new? Because we have to close the gap," Taffin added.