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Red Bull deficit down to chassis and power unit - Renault

25 Mar 2015

Renault have baulked at suggestions that problems with its power unit are the sole reason for Red Bull's early season performance deficit to Mercedes, saying a combination of factors are behind the former world champion team's struggles.

The French manufacturer conceded in Australia, where Daniel Ricciardo was the highest of the Renault-powered drivers in sixth, that they seemed to have 'moved backwards' in performance terms from last year. But ahead of the second race of the season in Malaysia they insisted that their much-maligned power unit was just one area that needed improving on the RB11. 

"Australia certainly wasn't an easy weekend and we fell short of our own expectations, and those of our clients," admitted Renault's managing director Cyril Abiteboul. 

"We need to work together to understand our issues, both within the power unit and the chassis. Our figures have shown that the lap time deficit between Red Bull and Mercedes in Melbourne was equally split between driveability issues, engine performance and chassis performance. It's therefore the overall package that needs some help and we have been working with the team to move forward.

"We've been particularly aggressive in development and we should see the results a lot more clearly in Malaysia, particularly since we have had the opportunity to refine the PU using the data from Australia. Work is still ongoing but even now we are in a completely different place to where we finished Melbourne."

Remi Taffin, Renault's director of operations, added that the French manufacturer sees the race in Malaysia as a ‘chance to press the restart button for the season'.  

"Our design development group has been working non-stop to create counter-measures to improve driveability and reliability and correct the issues we saw in Melbourne," he said.

"We have run in the dynos at Viry and will conduct further, refined tests after Malaysia. Additionally some of the issues we had were amplified by specific Melbourne characteristics such as track layout, up and down ambient temperatures and so on. Malaysia should be better in this regard since the conditions tend to stay stable throughout the weekend and we can focus progressively on set-up with the team, which should show our true level a lot clearer."