Renault says it has already hit the initial “high targets” it set for its 2019 Formula 1 engine during pre-season testing. 

The French manufacturer hopes to close the gap to engine rivals Mercedes and Ferrari this year, having lagged behind both throughout the V6 hybrid era. 

Renault has prioritised its power unit development in an aggressive push for added performance in 2019, and engine chief Remi Taffin says the forecasted results have already been verified on-track throughout two weeks of testing in Barcelona

"Everything we actually developed and measured on the dyno were the same as what we see out on track,” Taffin explained. 

"It was quite similar the last few years, but this year it is again where we are. We have set some high targets for this year, which we hit. We're happy with what we have achieved.

"But obviously it's the same thing; we need to go out on track and see where we will be, and we will have to wait until Melbourne to see that in quali and the race.”

Asked how important a year 2019 is for Renault in its bid to catch F1’s top three, Taffin replied: “The only pressure we have got is the pressure from our company. We look to ourselves first and we had homework to be done. 

“We have set high targets, which we try and meet on either side of the channel. I am pretty sure the rest will do a good job but I think we are happy with what we are doing. 

“We also will keep on developing through the year so I think the pressure is just the pressure we put on ourselves. We have to put some pressure on and that is why we are here. 

“The way we developed for this year is no different to what we did last year. It is now a year or two where we are discussing these things but sometimes we need more time to develop and the one thing we have kept on is the concept we have had for the last 18 months. 

“It is starting to deliver and we feel that we will be delivering more and more so we are happy.”

Like rivals Mercedes and Ferrari, Renault was finally able to introduce its own long-awaited qualifying engine mode in 2018, though it is hoping to make further strides this season after carrying out a number of tests in Barcelona. 

“We did try many modes for the last seven days and we were happy with each of them,” Taffin said. “Whether it was race, quali, inbetween or anything, we are now after what we need. 

“As I said the next step for us it to see where we are in Melbourne - we have tested everything we needed to.”