Despite apparent leaps made particularly by Red Bull in Melbourne, Renault F1 boss Remi Taffin admits the French marque is still not where it wants to be.
With Lotus and Caterham having a troubled weekend so far it remains clear the issues seen with the new V6 power unit are not totally solved, it also seems apparent that at least in the dry only the world champions are realistically able to challenge the customer Mercedes and Ferrari teams.
“This (Mercedes and Ferrari’s level) is what we wanted, and what we imagined we would achieve.
Though Daniel Ricciardo qualified second and both Toro Rosso’s made the top 10 in Saturday’s wet qualifying, Taffin admitted Renault were still a bit behind on its schedule.
“We’re not there yet, because we’ve had reliability problems and that caused a bit of a delay. We are about a month behind,” he said.
Meanwhile there remains concern from some in the sport about the safety of switching to a new fuel-dependent era because of the possible scenarios of having cars quite some way off the pace of cars around them.
Former champion Sir Jackie Stewart, who was a leader in campaigning for better safety in his era, believes those worries he had then can be applied to now with the new V6 units.
“I see a very, very big problem,” the F1 legend told German newspaper Die Welt in Melbourne.
Pointing at the issue of fuel conservation, Stewart believes it is possible some cars could be several seconds per lap slower than the leading pace at different stages of the race, to ensure they can complete the 300km distance on 100 kilos of fuel.
“Drivers who are six seconds slower than the fastest cars is a huge safety risk,” he said.
“And when you’re talking about safety in formula one, it is the question of life and death,” the Scot added.
“If I understand the problem, I cannot understand that others seem to have thought so little about it.”
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