Renault team boss Eric Boullier insists that the result of the Australian Grand Prix is an indication that the team has already made strides forwards compared to last season.
Vitaly Petrov took a fine third place at Albert Park to open Renault's podium account in the opening event of the season.
While the R31 was clearly strong around the Melbourne circuit, Boullier admitted that the team can't afford to relax as it seeks to challenge the front-runners through the rest of the year and he said he was confident that the Enstone-based squad would be able to keep up in the development race.
“First, it was a relief because it's good to see that our car is a step up from last year and that we are already fighting for podiums,” he said. “And it's obviously a great reward for the whole team because everybody put a lot of effort in during the winter and especially over the last few weeks to get this car ready and working well.
“I remain fully confident the team can repeat the performance of last year. We proved in 2010 that we had the ability to develop the car at a very high level and I see no reason why we cannot do the same this year, especially since we've worked on improving our processes and our production capacity.”
However, in an open and honest comment, Boullier added that he didn't think the Albert Park race was an indication of the true pecking order for the year ahead.
“It reflected the order in Australia, to be honest,” he said. “Today's development rate is important and the capacity for the technical team to deliver a new package to the car is crucial in the fight for the championship.
“I think in Malaysia the order will be different, and for the race after that there will be another new order, so it's not representative for the whole season, no.”