Design guru Adrian Newey hails Renault’s progress of late while expressing confidence on the potential of Red Bull Racing’s 2017 RB13.

Newey agrees that increased downforce, courtesy of F1’s regulation overhaul, will put the onus on the power unit this season with drivers spending more time at full throttle.

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“It certainly means power is more important because we all have so much grip, then the percentage full throttle per lap goes up,” explained Newey at last weekend’s Autosport International show.

“So the amount of time that you’re actually grip limited as opposed to power limited is less.

“I think Renault are definitely going in a very good direction at the moment. Two years ago we ended up in the position where they made no progress over the winter – if anything they actually went slightly backwards compared to the first year with the hybrid.

“They’ve been working very hard over the winter. I know their numbers for this year, it’s a good step forwards. As always, the same as with us, what we don’t know is what our rivals have been up to.”

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It’s early days still but Newey said he was  happy with the current status of the team’s new car, the RB13.

“I’m glad to say we’ve successfully passed our nose crash test, it’s the earliest we’ve ever managed that.

“That’s usually a bit of a last minute panic. Design is obviously complete now and we’re heavily into the manufacturing stage.”

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