“From a technical standpoint we’re ready for Melbourne; everything has been checked,” director of operations Rémi Taffin said, “but we’re still not producing the level of performance that we’d like to. That’s something we’ll be focusing on at the final round of official testing this week, but at least we’re starting from a solid base.
“We’ve continued to shake down parts for Melbourne but are still missing some components and software that would allow us to fully optimise the power unit.
“So far we have pushed the ERS [Energy Recovery System] to its limits, but also focused our efforts around the internal combustion engine and turbo. It’s for those last two elements that we’re awaiting the newly developed components and software.
“Finally, we were aware that some driveability issues might exist on the opening morning as it’s an area we weren’t previously able to explore. We ended up doing it ‘live’ simultaneously in Barcelona and at the factory, which help to push the limits further.”
Renault Sport F1 managing director Cyril Abiteboul said the target is still to reduce last year’s deficit to Mercedes by half in time for the opening race on March 15 in Melbourne.
“Regarding performance, of course it’s still a bit early to make a proper judgement as it’s always relative and we don’t know what the competition is doing. On our side, we didn’t spend the test chasing lap times. Such aggressive and uncompromising development programmes, both in terms of chassis and the Power Unit, as well as new parts arriving at the last minute, also make it difficult to draw conclusions.
“Saying that, we’re still confident of achieving our target: reducing our power unit deficit to Mercedes by half for the first grand prix. Our reinforced partnership with Red Bull is also moving in the right direction, and the overall situation looks encouraging.”