Renault to start Formula 1 development push at Bahrain Grand Prix

Renault plans to bring the first step of an "exciting" update push to the Bahrain Grand Prix, confident its car is ready to challenge for regular Formula 1 points

Renault to start Formula 1 development push at Bahrain Grand Prix

The French manufacturer endured a troubled Australian Grand Prix, with Jolyon Palmer's weekend derailed by a Friday practice crash and Nico Hulkenberg finishing 11th.

Although the team had hoped for more to start of the season, Renault's F1 managing director Cyril Abiteboul sees great potential in its RS17, especially when developments come on board soon.

"We have a team that is still growing and we have a lot to come," Abiteboul told Autosport.

"Our direct competitors, like Toro Rosso and Force India, even though [in Australia] they had the upper hand, I am sure they are not sleeping and they will also be bringing updates.

"So it will be interesting to see who is bringing the most.

"I think clearly we have potential. We know what is in the pipeline, and it is exciting.

"And what we have in the pipeline, if we had it on the car now, it would allow us to be easily in the points."

Asked when those updates would be coming, Abiteboul said: "We have some stuff coming for race three onwards, and each time is it an increment of lap time.

"But I know we are not the only ones. It will be a very competitive season, it is going to be a hard season, a harsh season and everything will have to go extremely well so that you can make progress.

"It will be true for us, it will be true for Ferrari and Mercedes, and also Red Bull."

Abiteboul believes one of the lessons to take out of the season opener is that Renault cannot afford to lose any track time.

Losing mileage through Palmer's crash proved costly in Melbourne, especially considering it had already lacked mileage with its new-generation car in winter testing.

"I think frankly - and I am not putting the blame on him, absolutely not - but things were starting with Jo when he went off," said Abiteboul.

"From there we lost a car, so in general we were losing 50% of the capacity to learn the data about your own performance, doing high-fuel runs, low-fuel runs and so on.

"These things count so much now, in particular with these tyres that are new.

"We are also going into this with less mileage than most of the other teams from the winter test and I think we are paying for that.

"We are paying for the fact that we had one car that couldn't help with preparation and we had less mileage than the rest.

"So that is a bit frustrating but that is our fault, so we have to build up from that."

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