RS17 ia clearly a significant step up on last year's F1 Renault. File photo: Albert Gea / Reuters

Melbourne, Australia - Renault says it has fixed its pre-season power unit problems with a "belt and braces" approach ahead of Formula One's Australian Grand Prix opener.

Issues with the unit's Energy Recovery System limited the team's mileage in the second Barcelona test in March, although the car was clearly a significant step up on last year's.

Renault Sport F1 managing director Cyril Abiteboul said in a team preview for Sunday's race in Melbourne: "We have addressed the ERS issue which caused us reliability concerns and do not expect to see a repeat of it in Australia. 

"We know we have a strong base with the RS17 which puts us in good stead for the relentless development race we expect to see," he added.

Technical head Bob Bell said he was "reasonably confident" after testing.

"Even though we did experience some issues we don't have any overriding concerns over reliability as we accumulated sufficient data and have taken remedial and precautionary measures to address the particular ERS issue we saw," he said.

Bell said the ERS issue had been seen previously in static dyno tests at the factory "but packaged in the car and out on track it was amplified".

"Since Barcelona we've adopted a belt and braces approach to avoid a similar issue in Melbourne," he added.

New lineup

Renault has a changed lineup this season, with Nico Hulkenberg coming in from Force India to partner Jolyon Palmer, and an all-new power unit that it hopes will help close the gap to Mercedes.

The former champion finished ninth in 2016, its return as a constructor after taking over the failing Lotus team at the end of 2015, but has set its sights on fifth in 2017.

Hulkenberg expected Renault to be among the midfield teams in Australia but improving steadily.


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