sport

Testing times await Renault

Renault has admitted it faces an "anxious" start to the new Formula One season that begins in less than a fortnight.

The French manufacturing giant endured a torrid pre-season campaign as numerous issues arose over the 12 days of testing in Jerez and Bahrain with regard to the new-for-2014 power unit.

Renault's customers, which include world champions Red Bull, occupied four of the bottom five places in terms of mileage completed.

The four teams combined - Red Bull, Lotus, Toro Rosso and Caterham - amassed just 8,322 kilometres between them, less than half that of the quartet of Mercedes-powered marques.

That has left Renault facing a crucial few days ahead of the first practice session for the Australian Grand Prix at Melbourne's Albert Park in 11 days' time.

Renault's deputy technical managing director Rob White said: "Between now and Melbourne we have a number of items to cover.

"We need to consolidate all of the lessons learned across all the teams.

"We need to review all the accumulated data and compare and contrast to get the best out of it so the starting point for all of the Renault-powered cars is as good as it can be.

"Second, we must progress further on the torque delivery of the power unit felt by the drivers, which will include software and calibration work, with simulator and dyno and validation.

"Thirdly there is the logistical challenge of getting the race power units built and shipped to Australia. That process is well under way and will be finished next week.

"It means Melbourne will be an anxious weekend. Conducting a normal race weekend, in which both cars run well during each session for every team, would be a great relief.

"I hope we can support our teams and drivers to explore the performance of the car and allow the race to deliver its sporting verdict."

White believes Renault did make progress in the second four-day test in Bahrain that concluded on Sunday, although as some questions were answered, others revealed themselves.

"The aim of the last test session before Australia was to recover some of the lost ground from the previous sessions and to rehearse the grand prix," added White.

"We wanted each of our four teams to be able to approach a normal race weekend without having to improvise any of the procedures or operations needed.

"We can't escape the fact we did not complete the entire programme with all the teams and some Melbourne preparations are incomplete.

"On the upside, we have done some of everything, with simulations of qualifying sessions, starts, race distances and long stints and it is fair to say we have again made some real progress.

"We have cured or found workarounds for some of the problems we had previously identified.

"But new problems revealed as we ran more have added to the unsolved items and disrupted running, which is disappointing for our teams."