Renault has admitted it faces an “anxious” start to the new Formula 1 season that begins on March 16.

The French manufacturing giant endured a torrid pre-season campaign as numerous issues arose over the 12 days of testing in Jerez and Bahrain.

Renault’s customers, who include Enstone-based Lotus and Leafield outfit Caterham, occupied four of the bottom five places in terms of mileage completed.

The four teams combined – world champions Red Bull and Toro Rosso complete the quartet – amassed just 8,322km between them, less than half that of the four Mercedes-powered marques.

That has left Renault facing a crucial few days ahead of the first practice session for the Australian Grand Prix at Melbourne’s Albert Park in ten days’ time.

Rob White, Renault’s deputy technical managing director, said: “It means Melbourne will be an anxious weekend.”