Jolyon Palmer and Kevin Magnussen say they feel Renault has a positive platform from which to progress from despite failing to crack the top ten at the Australian Grand Prix.
Renault's much anticipated – and brightly-coloured – return to F1 as a factory team saw some solid pace from the RS16, but race day would prove somewhat frustrating for Magnussen and Palmer.
Magnussen's race was hampered from the off when he picked up a puncture on the run to turn three, leaving him a lap down initially. However, after being allowed to recover the lap at the red flag restart, he was able to make up ground to 12th, finishing just behind his team-mate by the chequered flag.
“We have a really good car; the pace is strong, as is the baseline set-up. It's something we can continue to work from and evolve to gain more performance. Today was pretty tough at the start as I was really gutted about the puncture.
“I don't think I had any contact so it was really unfortunate,” he said. “You never want to see a red flag incident, and it's a positive statement that Fernando could walk away from that dramatic crash, but the restart did benefit us. Our pace after the restart was very promising so I'm excited for the next races.”
Making his F1 race debut, Palmer ran as high as ninth in the closing stages but couldn't resist the Toro Rossos on fresher tyres, leaving him 11th. Despite this, the 2014 GP2 Series champion was pleased with his and Renault's efforts
“I think the team has done an incredible job this weekend to qualify in Q2 and then finishing the race in eleventh and twelfth; it's the maximum we could expect to achieve. It's a good start, we were so close to scoring points, and we can move forward from here.
“The race itself was busy but good fun; I absolutely loved being wheel to wheel again after a year out of racing. It was great to be back in the fray and it all went pretty smoothly for me. Happy days.”