Renault to focus on ERS fixes for Melbourne

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Following up on pre-season winter testing, Renault's Cyril Abiteboul has underlined that the team will focus on solving its ERS reliability issues in the 10 days leading up to the season opening race in Melbourne, Australia.

Abiteboul, managing director at Renault Sport, said the team's focus on the power unit front is not entirely on reliability.

"We have to focus on reliability with special attention on the ERS, which is already well underway. Everyone at Enstone, at Viry and at the track has been working exceptionally hard to get this car on track and it is empowering to experience this positive ethos."

The problems didn't come as a surprise however, as Renault has introduced a new architecture for its entire power unit. As the team was convinced it had run out of development potential of the previous design, new ICE and ERS concepts were introduced.

Aside from the engine issues that have repeatedly popped up, the team has enjoyed its pre-season campaign and are confident that their Renault R.S.17 will prove to be a major step forward. Their 2016 package was underdeveloped, and carried over the flaws that were already in the 2015 chassis.

“This has been an exciting two weeks for everyone at Renault Sport Racing as we have seen the first Formula One car designed from the outset by us take to the track.

"The R.S.17 looks beautiful and we think it is a good platform to build the performance that will allow to achieve our aims for 2017. We know the areas we need to address. We think we already have a good step forward with performance thanks to this car and the new power unit as shown by our lap times today despite adverse circumstances in the previous days that prevented optimising the package."

The drivers were equally optimistic, with Palmer, who also drove for Renault in 2016, saying the new car is awesome to drive.

"The car feels good in all the areas you’d want and it is definitely a strong improvement from the R.S.16 in every area", he said.

"Australia is going to be really special with these cars and I am very positive for the season ahead.”

The F1 season kicks off on 26 March with the Australian Grand Prix at Melbourne.