Mercedes can be caught - Renault
Renault believes it knows the key areas it needs to address ahead of Malaysia to overhaul the advantage currently enjoyed by Mercedes and its customer teams.
Daniel Ricciardo crossed the finish line 24 seconds behind race-winner Nico Rosberg, but after his disqualification the nearest Renault-powered car was just over a minute behind the Mercedes. But the weekend represented the first significant chance for some teams to gain mileage after a dismal winter period for Renault's customer teams. While acknowledging the gap between the two engine suppliers is still large, Renault chief Remi Taffin is convinced solutions are slowly coming together.
"It's a fair assessment to say we are behind Mercedes in the straights. That's obvious," Taffin said. "Saying it is one second is difficult, but it is not one tenth. It is closer to a second than a tenth or a hundredth. We know how far we are from [Mercedes] and we know what we can achieve for the next race to fill the gap. In the power unit we're running we already have the necessary components to achieve this recovery, it's just a matter of optimising everything and using everything to the full power. We just have to fix the reliability and fix the way we use all these things together and try to make them work."
Taffin was encouraged by the progress made in Australia, though the Mercedes-powered teams still enjoyed a marked advantage over the rest, but Taffin is happy to reflect on the positives from the opening weekend.
"It's like we've done four days of testing in one afternoon. We will reflect on that for Sepang and come back better, but all in all I'd say it's a 50/50, as the number of cars we got to the end of the race. Fifty per cent of them did quite well but not to the level we expect. We still have a way to go. We can operate our engine but there is a downside obviously with the number of cars we didn't get to the end due to some problems on our side. But it's not the sort of problem we cannot fix."