Renault have had a few issues over pre-season testing, but the French manufacturer states that the issue is one they already knew about and will be fixed in time for Melbourne
Week one was a bit hit and miss for Renault, as several issues hampered the works team and Toro Rosso, with Red Bull able to stay on top of the issues. Jolyon Palmer had an engine change on the first day of the second test and Max Verstappen had a couple of MGU-K issues in his Red Bull. The issues are not what any of the Renault powered teams wanted but the comfort is that the manufacturer realised there was an MGU-K issue before the test had begun, and a fix is already in the pipeline for Melbourne. The power unit this year for Renault is 95% different to what they produced last year so teething problems really are to be expected. Renault chief engine Technical Director Remi Taffin explained what had been going on;
“We have a completely new power unit for 2017 and we have been mileage-limited with an element on the ERS side this week. We saw some similar issues in development on the dyno, however testing on track has magnified this. Fixes are already under way and we expect to have them in place for Melbourne so we achieve the appropriate level of reliability for the start of the season, however this has impacted on our running here in Barcelona.”
The problems meant that Renault had the third lowest mileage of testing, ahead of only McLaren who had all kinds of issues in Spain. Renault have clearly made a very good step forward and it is encouraging that the issue has already been identified. If the optimism for Melbourne does indeed fix the problem then it will be a huge boost to Renault, Toro Rosso and Red Bull. Jolyon Palmer, who had a fair share of bad luck in testing, said;
“We’re always working on solutions to try and improve it but the big fix at the moment is being done in Viry and we’ll have a much better handle on it in Melbourne.”
Unlike the current situation at Honda though, the Renault engine seems to have performance. The Red Bull was one of the fastest cars through the speed trap in Barcelona, right up in the mix with the Ferrari and Mercedes teams. Renault had been the perceived weakest of the triage in the V6 Hybrid era, its first two engines really not giving the desired performance but they caught up well last year and now appear to be even closer if not on par with Mercedes.