The French team are debuting a brand new concept for the 2017 season, as they bid to close the gap on championship thoroughbreds Mercedes and Ferrari.
Despite a few Reliability problems during the testing in Barcelona – primarily to do with the ERS – there are plenty of reasons for optimism for the team in 2017.
“I think we are on target, and even maybe exceeding that target, subject to reliability,” Renault F1 managing director Cyril Abiteboul told Autosport.
“We came into this with a whole new engine architecture, not just in terms of [combustion engine] but also ERS.
“That means quite a great challenge, particularly in terms of reliability, and there is no surprise.
“We were expecting to encounter some difficulties – we had those difficulties that materialised.
“But the good news is that we are not doing that for nothing, meaning that the performance is there when we are try to extract it.
“We were not doing that frequently, because we were really managing distance and life of the engine parts, which are still critical conditions.
“But we have seen the performance that we wanted to get is definitely there.”
The team is currently weighing up the choice of specification for the season opener in Australia, because it needs to balance power carefully against reliability.
“Anything could happen in Melbourne, we are doing everything we can to make sure that only good things happen in Melbourne,” he said.
“We believe we have a situation that is roughly under control, but these power units are so complex to control that we still have a number of decisions to make before Melbourne that will have an impact on not only the finishing order but whether we get to the finish line in Melbourne or not.
“We are really on a critical path and it is really important to stay focused and not take anything for granted.”
Renault’s form will be instrumental on Red Bull’s chances as to whether they can serious expect to challenge for the title this year; Abiteboul confidently predicted the team will “clearly be in a position to fight for the championship” with the French engine.
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