Renault’s technical director has played down reports that the French squad made a specific “breakthrough” with its understanding of the R27 car during the recent tests at Sepang.
It was suggested by certain specialist media outlets that the white, yellow and orange car would be closer to the ultimate pace in Malaysia after struggling at the season opener.
Bob Bell, however, predicts that Renault will still be a long way from Ferrari and McLaren this weekend.
“I wouldn’t say we’ve done anything in the last test that represented a significant step forward,” he told the Times.
“We’ve made progress, but I don’t think any of us are under any illusions — we’ve still got a long way to go.”
Bell admitted that, despite the team carrying Fernando Alonso to the championships in 2005 and last year, this year’s Enstone-built single seater is outpaced even by the third best car in 2007, BMW.
Referring to the German squad, he said: “I think we are a little bit behind them.”