Renault has revealed it is "months" ahead in its reliability preparations compared to this stage last year, as it bids to make big progress in eradicating mechanical gremlins in 2018.
Although the French car manufacturer has made solid gains with its performance this season, an all-new concept of power unit has suffered a spate of reliability problems.
Red Bull has paid the biggest price for those issues, with Max Verstappen losing a run of good results, and it is no surprise that the Milton Keynes-based outfit wants Renault to make a step-change.
But although all manufacturers are facing a challenge with a new limit of three engines per season, Renault has indicated that it is in far better shape with reliability now than it was last winter.
Renault F1 managing director Cyril Abiteboul told Motorsport.com: “We do have some parts that are capable of covering thousands of kilometres, in fact tens of thousands of kilometres – like the energy store or the MGU-K.
“But there are some specific parts that are giving us headaches, and for which reliability has been a concern this year. We know it is going to be a concern again next year, so it is still a bit early to confirm.
“But what I can tell you is that we are months in advance with our reliability programme in comparison to last year. So hopefully it will have a positive impact into next year.”
Abiteboul has also said that there will be a much stricter regime imposed by Renault to make sure that reliability targets are met in 2018 – both in engine terms and for the works team.
“We are going to slightly change our philosophy – and go to be much more rigid on planning team milestones of the different projects – on the engine project and the chassis project.
“We want to make sure that reliability is right as soon as the winter tests begin; that we are covering lots of mileage in the winter tests and so on and so forth. And hopefully that will propagate again into the season.
“It is always difficult because time is extremely limited but we want to improve all the elements of the package, and it is a question of how late you dare brake in relation to that.
"But Remi [Taffin, F1 engine chief] in particular is very rigid in his approach to sticking to milestones, in particular on the engine side.”