Date: 17th February 2014 at 11:04am
Written by:

French manufacturer Renault have admitted that they are playing catch-up ahead of the new FIA Formula One World Championship season.

Formula One teams Red Bull Racing, Caterham and Toro Rosso really struggled during the first winter test session in Jerez, which was partly down to Renault really struggling to get to grips with their new hybrid 1.6-litre V6’s.

A quick look at the mileage completed by the Mercedes and Ferrari powered teams highlighted a major backward step for the Renault powered teams.

Mercedes powered teams completed 2,407 miles during the four-day test session in Jerez.

Ferrari powered teams completed 1,221 miles, while Renault completed just 415 miles.

Lotus however who are also running Renault engines skipped the first winter test entirely but hit the track during a promotional filming session at Jerez last week.

For such events, teams are limited to just 100km [60miles] which Lotus completed, with no problems.

The development was good not just for Lotus, but Red Bull Racing, Caterham and Toro Rosso too as Lotus ran various hardware changes, software bug fixes and calibration improvements which had caused the other teams issues during the Jerez struggles.

But despite the improvements, some experts in the paddock still believe that Renault could be around two months behind the development of Mercedes and Ferrari.

‘We’re still behind schedule, but it’s not a question of months,’ said Renault Sport F1’s Head of Track Operations Remi Taffin to Sky Sports.

‘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.’

The second winter testing session in Bahrain begins on Wednesday February 19th.