Renault is confident that the problems it had with its Energy Recovery System (ERS) during testing will be fixed by the opening round of the Formula One season in Australia.
The French manufacturer overhauled the design of its power unit during the winter in the hope of closing the gap to Mercedes and Ferrari. Renault has high hopes that its new approach will not only give an initial performance boost of 0.3s per lap, but open up a new avenue development that will allow similar gains throughout the season.
However, during testing a weakness was exposed after all three Renault-powered teams -- the Renault works team, Red Bull and Toro Rosso -- suffered the same problem related to the overheating of the ERS's MGU-K. Dyno testing had highlighted the issue ahead of pre-season testing and Renault's power unit boss Remi Taffin said a fix already in the pipeline for the first race.
"We have a completely new power unit for 2017 and we have been mileage-limited with an element on the ERS side this week," Taffin explained. "We saw some similar issues in development on the dyno, however testing on track has magnified this.
"Fixes are already underway 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 impacted on our running in Barcelona."
Once the fix is in place, Renault and its customer teams should see the full benefit of the hard work Viry Chatillon has put in over the winter and Renault boss Cyril Abiteboul is confident his team will make a big step in performance.
"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," Abiteboul added. "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 despite adverse circumstances that prevented optimising the package. We have to focus on reliability with special attention on the ERS, which is already well underway."