Bob Bell: Fourth required to prove worth of Renault's long-term F1 plan

Renault Chief Technical Officer Bob Bell says it must “comfortably maintain” fourth position if it is to convince the manufacturer’s board to commit to its long-term title ambitions.

Renault returned to Formula 1 as a fully-fledged manufacturer team prior to 2016 and outlined its ambition to emerge as a title force in 2020.

Renault improved from ninth to sixth in the standings last year, and regularly possessed the fourth-quickest car, as it strives to make another step forward this season.

In order to realise its long-term plan, Bell says Renault must ensure it convinces its bosses that recent investment has been justified, and that the next step is deserved.

“Our team is being managed for the very top in a very sensible way,” said Bell.

“I suppose one way to look at it is to say we were sixth in the championship last year, we need to get ourselves into a position where we can comfortably maintain fourth place in the championship.

“If you look at a team like Force India, they’ve been able to achieve that, so we ought to be able to do that same job with roughly similar resources. That’s clear.

“I think until we can do that and demonstrate to Renault in particular that we’re capable of achieving that then they are not going to start writing cheques for a lot more people and resources.

“We have to prove ourselves at every step of the way.

“Once we’ve done that, then we can start having a discussion about what’s it going to take to move into the top three and take on Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull, because they are another league again in terms of resources.

“But we are prepared for that, Renault is prepared for that and so we will expand to a point where we believe is sensible to be able to consistently fight just outside the top three and be there.”