Renault technical director, Bob Bell, has stated that all teams in Formula 1 will have been affected by the FIAs clarification last week about the car floors.
McLaren raised an informal complaint after the Australian Grand Prix about the possibility that some cars were running with illegal floors, however it was widely believed that only Ferrari and BMW-Sauber would be affected and have to redesign their cars’ floors to adhere to the new flexibility tests.
“It is quite possible that the hierarchy of relative performance will actually be dominated by how well teams have responded to the FIA’s clarification of the bodywork regulations last week,” Bell explained.
“The new testing methods for the floor will, I’m sure, have caused some difficulty for all the teams – and how well they respond to that change may well have a larger effect than any other performance developments.”
Despite Ferrari being one of those who may have to modify their cars the most, Bell is not expecting Renault to have any easy time at Malaysia.
“We are hoping to show that we have taken a step forward relative to Melbourne,” he continued. “The main gain in Malaysia will be a new front wing pacakge which will help with the performance. At this stage, it is unrealistic to talk about catching Ferrari or McLaren – bit we need to show that progress has been made and that we are starting to close down the gap.
“The race weekend in Melbourne and our testing last week in Sepang showed that the car is well-balanced – particularly on old tyres. That will be a definite strength. However, the other lesson from Australia was that we are lacking in overall grip, and this will certainly penalise us in the high speed corners. We hope to have made progress and moved closed to the pace-setters, but the real verdict will come out on the track.”