Big Tea wrote: ↑
Sat Dec 08, 2018 1:09 pm
It will also depend a huge amount how far Mercedes and Ferrari pull ahead during the winter. Renault can only aim at where they think the target will be, they could miss by quite a bit.
Yes they are moving targets but we might be close to seeing the limits of what can be developed with the current engine regulations and a ceiling can eventually hit where no more performance gains can realistically be made within the limits the current engine regulations have set.
Toto Wolff has already revealed that the development of the 2019 Mercedes engine isn't going "quite as expected" (source: https://youtu.be/Q95f4iGqgiI?t=2238
He mentions how some of the new concepts for the engine haven't really gone as planned and with a fantastic engine like they have I wonder how close they already are to reaching their ceiling. I could be wrong but I do not expect the engine to be massively improved over the winter (not like it needs improvement), and even though they will undoubtedly come to Melbourne with a stronger engine than they had in Abu Dhabi (as will Ferrari), in theory this means that the two manufacturers with engines that are currently quite a bit off Mercedes and Ferrari have much more room to work with before they hit their "ceiling"
I'd say it is more of a chance that Renault and Honda put a big dent in the performance deficit that they have to Mercedes and Ferrari over the winter.
The new architecture on the Renault engine will be quite a bit more powerful than Spec C this year. However peak power is one thing and then being able to deliver that power over the full race is another thing. I believe the Honda engine right now has a very good "peak power" (spec 3 Honda had a higher max BHP than Spec C Renault this year) but it cannot sustain high engine modes as much as the Mercedes and Ferrari engines. This could be due to a number of reasons which Honda obviously has to be working on. But they have a very good architecture and there is "no reason" why that engine can't ever be on Mercedes and Ferrari level.
Renault will be in the same boat now too with the new architecture. There could be some reliability problems to solve but Renault is obviously going to start 2019 with much more power than they currently have and we will all know exactly what the gap is to the top teams (and even Honda) is going to be when we get to Melbourne. However my opinion is that by the end of 2019 we should see all 4 engines come within a very similar maximum power output of each other.
Such is the law of diminishing returns.