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Renault has no plans for 2016 B-Spec car

JOSEP LAGO/AFP/Getty Images

Renault has no plans to introduce a major aerodynamic upgrade in 2016 as it focuses on developing its power unit and the "long game" it has committed to in Formula One.

Renault returned to the grid as a manufacturer by purchasing Lotus ahead of the current season following protracted negotiations the team has admitted compromised development of its 2016 car. The team rolled out its 2016 challenger with several parts from last year's Lotus due to this delay, something chief technical officer Bob Bell attributes to a "pragmatic" approach taken with the RS16.

Last year Force India introduced a B-Spec chassis at Silverstone, which resulted in a major upswing in performance thereafter. Bell doubts Renault will do similar this year as it is mindful of the significant regulation changes for 2017.

"It's something we need to think about in terms of what we want to achieve this season and what next season is going to mean," Bell told ESPN. "As you know there is very strong chance of significant regulatory change next season and we have to be looking ahead. We're playing a long game, Renault has committed to eight, nine, ten years, whatever it is it's a long, long time, and we need to take a long-term view.

"We need to say to ourselves 'how important is 2016 to us?' and we need to judge the importance of 2016 versus 2017 and decide how much effort we put into developing this car compared to developing next year's car. That will depend upon where we end up at the end of this winter test period, where we are in the rankings, and we won't really understand that until Melbourne.

"At that point we will make a conscious decision about how much we will develop this car. I doubt it would ever be as significant as a B-Spec car, we will probably introduce development components to this car but I don't think it would be what you would class a B-Spec chassis."

Bell says the changes to the cars next year places a bigger emphasis on power unit development, an area Renault is already behind in after struggling with the V6 turbos in 2014 and 2015.

"Of course in parallel the engine will be developing over the season, not just this season but for 2017. With engines the lead time is a lot longer, the criticality of bringing performance and balancing it with reliability is far more crucial on an engine. We need to be developing the engine hard in 2016 to be ready for 2017, that's less important for the chassis.

"[This car] wasn't about trying to come out of the box with a significant step in performance, we weren't in a position to do that with the problems Lotus suffered last year, financial problems. It wasn't really possible to develop the car from a performance perspective as much as we would like. It was all about getting a car, making sure it ran reliably, getting plenty of time on track for the drivers. There are parts on the car that were there last year but they will be dialled out through the year -- it's just a pragmatic approach really."