Renault have dismissed suggestions of a lack of engine development after it emerged that the company has only used 7 of its 32 available development tokens. The team's Chief, Ciryl Abiteboul said there is no relation between progress and token usage.
As in last season, each of the four engine manufacturers - Ferrari, Mercedes, Renault and Honda - has 32 tokens that can be used to develop its power unit. This was initially set to 24, but a regulation change to give more freedom to the engine builders now allows more tokens that can be spent in every area of the engine this year, before the system is completely abolished in 2017.
The little use of tokens by Renault over the winter is qustionable, especially as they were one of the parties who pushed to open up the regulations in order to be able to catch up with Mercedes.
However, no conclusions should be made, as Cyril Abiteboul claimed it does not represent the progress that Renault is making.
"This is a demonstration that we have used little tokens but I hope the fact we have made a substantial step in terms of performance will be actual evidence that there is no connection between token use and performance," he said.
"You can use a lot of tokens and bring absolutely nothing in terms of laptime, which is maybe something we did last year."
Abiteboul noted that a plan is in place to use more tokens during the course of the season with an engine upgrade set to be introduced around the Canadian GP, one of the more power sensitive tracks on the calendar.
So far, the company has focused on making things more reliable as it reverts from its last-minute development strategy in the beginning of 2015 that failed to pay off due to a host of parts issues.