Renault Sport Formula 1 Team Chief Technical Officer Bob Bell, is confident the ERS issues the Enstone based squad suffered during winter testing are now resolved, and they are ready to go racing in Australia.
Despite not racking up as many laps as they would have liked, owing to those technical problems, the team were still able to collect sufficient information to put that right before the first round got underway.
“Even though we didn’t accumulate as many miles as we would have liked in pre-season testing we were able to make good progress over the two weeks in Barcelona and we are reasonably confident heading to Australia.
“The R.S.17 performed well on track, it is receptive to set-up changes and Nico and Jolyon found it enjoyable to drive.
“Even though we did experience some issues we don’t have any overriding concerns over reliability as we accumulated sufficient data and have taken remedial and precautionary measures to address the particular ERS issue we saw.”
Drivers Nico Hulkenberg and Jolyon Palmer both gave positive feedback about the handling of the RS17, and the data they garnered in testing, showed that the car performed strongly under all set ups.
That gives Bell confidence ahead of the first race of the season and the Brit is anticipating a strong weekend for the team.
“The R.S.17 worked well on both high and low fuels with no surprises. We have a good idea on how to get the best out of the tyres and the drivers have a good feeling from the car in both qualifying and race trim.
“We’re looking forward to our first race with this car with good expectations.”
Speaking specifically about the reliability problems experienced in Barcelona, Bell was adamant the changes they have made ahead of the Australian Grand Prix, will prevent the issue from re-occurring.
“Testing, especially with an all-new package, is all about learning. We experienced an issue with the ERS which had previously been seen on the dyno, but packaged in the car, and out on track it was amplified.
“Since Barcelona we’ve adopted a belt and braces approach to avoid a similar issue in Melbourne.”
In terms of tackling the Albert Park track itself, the usual challenges of driving a street circuit will apply, as well as the trials and tribulations of getting used to the new car, and what the best set up will be.
Bell is not worried however, and has supreme confidence that his two drivers and the new car will deliver.
“The biggest challenge with Albert Park is that the first race of the season always produces unusual results.
“This will be the first time we set-up these cars to go racing, and this is the first time we go through a race weekend schedule, and it occurs the other side of the world from where our car was conceived and produced.
“The track surface will be green at the beginning of running, just as you’re trying to learn as much as possible with these new cars.
“What we do know is that we have two very good drivers and a great team behind them. Whatever the challenges for this first race, we’ll be pushing for the best result possible.”