Renault have admitted that they will need to revamp their R29 considerably to avoid a poor start to the season. Speaking to Autosport, technical director Pat Symonds recognised that the team s first test in the Algarve had been underwhelming and that they would need to make some changes.
“I was disappointed. It wasn’t a great test. We didn’t really have everything quite the way we wanted it on the little bit of dry running we did.
Although the conditions made it tough for all the teams, Alonso and Piquet suffered from a lack of grip and turned in poor lap times, some of which were two seconds off Williams efforts. Symonds played down the significance of the poor performance.
Obviously I don’t know what the fuel loads were, but they were long runs, so I don’t think there will be a huge difference. I do think at the moment that the Williams is probably quicker than us, but I don’t think it’s by two seconds.”
Renault has some time in which to improve the car, and Symonds considers the final tests to be the most important for an evaluation of where the team s true speed is relative to its competitors.
“We can do better, which will make the car easier to drive and therefore better. But I really think this year more than ever it will be those last couple of tests that are the indicator.”
The Enstone-based team was on a high after its positive end to 2008, but the R29 s performance and less than charming looks have had many wondering about its pedigree.