Renault upgrades power unit ahead of Spa and Monza

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Renault is bringing an updated power unit to the next two rounds of the Formula One season with the aim of assessing progress against its rivals at two of the calendar's most power-sensitive circuits.

The French manufacturer, which also supplies power units to Red Bull and Toro Rosso, is still a clear third in the battle of F1's engine builders, lagging behind Ferrari and Mercedes but comfortably ahead of Honda. Earlier this year, Renault made clear it would not bring a single major engine update akin to its impressive step at Monaco last year, but engine technical director Remi Taffin is looking forward to seeing how his team's power unit stacks up against its rivals at F1's ultimate power circuit, Monza.

"Spa and Monza will see new software and hardware updates," he said ahead of this weekend's Belgian Grand Prix. "We are looking at Monza as a benchmark as it could provide a clear picture of the ranking of the engines.

"Being in the top ten [with the Renault works team] will be a good result as these next two circuits are power-hungry. After Monza, we have more races and more things in the pipeline, the next two months will be important for the 2017 season outcome."

Renault is targeting fifth in the constructors' championship this year and Taffin says the important thing in the second half of the year will be converting qualifying pace into race results.

"We know we're not the fastest on the grid, but as a team we are showing we are the force after the top three. Qualifying pace has looked good with Great Britain and Hungary exemplifying our ability to be the fourth best team. It's just a case of building on that and bettering the race pace.

"That comes from levelling up everything, we need to show off reliability and mileage and that is something we are giving close attention. We are on a good trend and we will keep adding performance in terms of both aerodynamics and engine so hopefully this can be seen in the upcoming races."