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'Productive' test for Renault despite final day issues

Carlos Sainz Jr (ESP) Renault Sport F1 Team RS18
© XPB 

Renault Sport F1 managing director Cyril Abiteboul says it was a 'shame' the team's pre-season test at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya had ended on a frustrating note.

The R.S.18 spent most of final day in the garage because of a gearbox issue. While itself not major, the time required for repairs meant that Carlos Sainz got almost no running in the morning.

"[It] was frustrating for me and the team, but this doesn’t cloud what was a productive week of testing in Barcelona," insisted Sainz.

"In a way it’s good that we had the problem we did today, rather than during the season when it could hurt us more."

The issue was actually with a sensor within the gearbox, as Abiteboul explained later.

"It was frustrating to finish with so few laps on the board [on Friday]. But the complexity of the cars means little issues can take time to be sorted out.

"Today we fell victim to a sensor problem within the gearbox," he continued. "Due to this being the early part of the season, we had to rebuild the gearbox with limited spares.

"It was a shame to end a very productive two weeks like this."

Sainz eventually returned to the track in the afternoon and completed another 40 laps. And one of those was enough to put him third fastest for the day, confirming the car's speed on hypersofts.

"For the final couple of hours we were able to conduct some performance work with the softer tyres," reported Sainz. "And the car did feel decent!

"I’m feeling positive ahead of the start of the season," Sainz added. "I can’t wait to get to Albert Park.”

Renault is confident that the car doesn't have any fundamental issues. The team completed 795 laps during the two weeks of testing, almost 200 more than this time last year.

Overall, Abiteboul was determined not to let the teething problems of the final day overshadow what had been "an encouraging test" as a whole.

"We have been able to cover almost all our programme over the two weeks with several notable achievements," he said. "Including beating the record of laps around Barcelona for a day.

"We feel we have a good handle on the car, which is a step forward from last year."

However Renault remains largely in the dark about where it stands relative to their rivals.

"We will need to wait until Australia to determine where we are in the order," Abiteboul admitted. "But we can go into next week and Melbourne looking forward."

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