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Renault's Bahrain GP preview

NEWS STORY
13/04/2017

Cyril Abiteboul, Renault Sport Racing Managing Director: China was once more a weekend of frustration for us as we were able to qualify in the top ten for the first time in Renault Sport Formula One Team's history, yet we finished very far from the P7 that Nico started on the grid.

No sooner had we committed both cars to early pit-stops to change to dry tyres than the Virtual Safety Car was upon us, the timing of which gave our rivals the advantage and meant we were on damage limitation thereafter.

The positive is that we've shown the pace and reliability required to score but we've yet to connect all of the pieces of the jigsaw when required. We're doing everything we can to ensure we are in the right place at the right time to secure points, and that means being in the top ten when the chequered flag falls.

For the sport, it was a positive to see such a good turn-out in China and the action on track was rewarding for the fans too. It was an exciting race for many reasons, even if it was a frustrating one for us.

And so, Bahrain. The weather is very different from that we saw in Shanghai and so we hope our race result will be too. The heat will test our power unit installation and drivers alike but both Nico and Jolyon are highly professional in their approach so the frustrations of Shanghai are forgotten even though the lessons are learnt.

This weekend we are very much trying to harness the potential shown in the past two races and finally get some points on the board.

Heat and sand are two of the challenges for the R.E.17 power unit in Bahrain as explains Engine Technical Director Remi Taffin.

What's the power unit feedback after the first two races?
Remi Taffin: It's a positive start to the season. Our power units have proved reliable in the first two Grands Prix of the season and have delivered increased performance over where we were last year. This new unit has great scope and we will see later in the season how to introduce performance upgrades once reliability is fully under control. An example: we did see issues related to the MGU-K in pre-season testing for which we took the decision to revert to an earlier generation unit. This solution has proved effective so far and we will only use the newer specification unit once we're happy it can deliver reliably.

What are the challenges of the Bahrain International Circuit?
RT: The two particular challenges are the heat and the sand. It's one of the hottest circuits we visit all year and this will test the power unit itself as well as the installation and cooling systems. Even though the race takes place later in the day than when we first started coming here, we do run daytime practice and there can be a load of heat radiated from the track surface. The other issue is the sand. It can be quite windy here and the sand from the surrounding desert means our air filtration systems leading into the engine have to really do their job.

Performance-wise, what's possible in the third Grand Prix of the season?
RT The first two races have definitely shown that we car challenging for points. Nico's P7 qualifying performance in Shanghai, which is quite a power-hungry track with its very long straight, shows we should be in the fight no matter what the location. We have run reliably on the power unit side at the last two races and we will always do what's needed to achieve this target for both cars. Hopefully Bahrain will be our first points of 2017.

Check out our Thursday gallery from Shanghai, here.

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