There is a difference between being behind and being out of the game completely and the good news for Renault Sport F1 is that they are the former, not the latter. According to Sky Sports F1, the French lump maker has not denied they are behind schedule—as well as behind their rivals—in the power plant development process but they are not that far behind:
“We’re still behind schedule, but it’s not a question of months,” said Remi Taffin.
“We are at least where we would have sought to be for the first test, so maybe now we are three weeks behind, and now we are on a recovery plan.
“We’re now going to go into Bahrain with what we would have liked to have finished the first test with.
“As for our rivals, let’s put it this way, they are probably four days ahead of us as they had a proper test in Jerez, and we didn’t.”
After running 151 laps at the Jerez test—some 700 fewer than Mercedes—the French team reckon their rivals are a few days ahead of them but that’s about it. You’ll recall that the Lotus F1 “filming” day a chance for Renault to smooth the wrinkles of their system without reliability problems during the vent.
Like any process, there are issues that crop up and must be addressed. Renault believe they are addressing those issues and if they would like to have a happy partner in Red Bull Racing, they had better hope they have them completely ironed out for the next test in Bahrain on the 19th of this month.