The highest Renault-powered car at the finish was Daniel Ricciardo, who was lapped by the dominant Mercedes. He only managed nine laps of running on Friday before suffering an engine failure, and another Renault power unit died in the back of Max Verstappen’s Toro Rosso during the race.
“We know that we made genuine progress over the winter but we could not show it here and in fact we would even seem to have moved backwards,” admitted Renault’s managging director Cyril Abiteboul.
However he suggested the fixes to some of their problem may be straightforward. “Given the pace at which we conducted our development programme towards the last few weeks of the winter, there may not be lots to change to be able to access these improvements.”
Renault said Ricciardo and Verstappen’s failures were not related. However they have another major concern in terms of the drive-ability of their power units.
“The biggest issue has been the driveability, which has made it hard for all the drivers to feel comfortable in the cars,” said director of operations Remi Taffin.
“It affects pedal application and confidence in the corners so has cost lap time and points this weekend. It’s related to the maps, or the way the power unit is configured, so while it’s definitely not an easy fix, it does not require a complete redesign.”