Renault and Ferrari are running out of time to prepare meaningful upgrades to their engines before the 2015 Formula 1 season in order to close the gap to Mercedes, according to Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport.

The report claimed Mercedes’ engine rivals are not even close to using all available opportunities of allowed performance upgrades ahead of the engine homologation deadline at the end of February.

“You can develop the engine all year long and then race your great evolution at the beginning of next season,” explained Andy Cowell, Mercedes’ head of engine development.

“There is a very long list of development opportunities for our opponents to take a big step forward, so the situation is clear,” he was quoted by Spain’s El Mundo Deportivo.

Renault, now strengthened by the input of former Ilmor chief Mario Illien (who spearheaded McLaren’s competitiveness in the late 1990s and early 2000s), however, seems to be on the back foot. Christian Horner, team principal of the Renault works team Red Bull Racing, conceded that he did not expect the French manufacturer to match Mercedes next year.

“We expect a slight increase in performance,” he said. “[But] we know we cannot reach Mercedes’ level; we want to be closer.”

Despite the February homologation deadline, Renault has reportedly run out of time to mimic Mercedes’ compound layout, while Ferrari is expected to run a more similar layout as it makes major upgrades to its 059/3 power unit, which suffered from a lack of power and being overweight.

Image via XPB Images

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Blaž Štremfelj

Journalist at MotorsportM8