Renault Sport F1 deputy managing director, technical, Rob White, said the engine manufacturer made some key strides this past week in Bahrain, but said there’s still a long ways to go before they’re satisfied with where they are on their power unit.
Energy Store changes were primarily hardware-related, and Power Unit changes primarily software-related. White explains more in detail via a Q&A on the official Formula One website.
“We have solved some problems and revealed some others,” White explained. “We are not back on schedule but we are moving in the right direction – the running we have done is very valuable. The challenge is to improve the rate of progress, because the gap to where we wanted to be at this stage remains substantial.”
The Bahrain test was not a chance for Renault to nail pace as yet. The manufacturer’s best time, set Saturday by Lotus’ Pastor Maldonado, was more than five seconds off the pace of overall leader Nico Rosberg in the Mercedes W05.
If engine development is behind, so too is chassis work, White said.
“The immaturity of the PU combined with the time lost to incidents, means the chassis work to prepare for the season is also behind schedule,” he said. “From this point on we must pursue and accelerate an upward curve.”
Renault’s four teams: Red Bull, Lotus, Toro Rosso and Caterham, will have four more days this week to make those strides.
Testing restarts Thursday in Bahrain, as the last test session before the Australian Grand Prix weekend. Practice for that is set to begin Thursday night, March 13 (Friday in Melbourne).