Renault unveiled its new R.S.18 earlier this week but says major design details were purposefully omitted from the car's images.
While the French team presented a brand new livery, its R.S.18 however looked very similar to last year's car, prompting the belief that Renault had opted for a conservative approach to its 2018 contender.
But Renault Sport F1 boss Cyril Abiteboul says the presentation mainly showcased the team's new livery, with several aerodynamic details deliberately kept under wraps until pre-season testing kicks off next week.
"To be extremely clear, the car that we showed in digital was really a presentation for the livery,” Abiteboul told Motorsport.com on Thursday, during a Renault promotional event in Paris.
"I have seen on forums people trying to extrapolate things from it. Well, calm down guys – don’t try to calculate the wheelbase because it will not be representative of anything!
"Like most teams we are going to develop until the last moment, so that car is not representative of what will be shown in T9 and T10 [the first and second tests] and in Melbourne there will be more to come.
"And also there a lot of the things that are under the cover. The suspension, gearbox, engine installation, cooling – all of that has made a big, big leap in comparison to last year but that is obviously not visible."
Abiteboul said Renault's design crew had enjoyed an early start on the R.S.18 last year, with a focus on carrying over the qualities of the R.S.17 while also improving reliability on both the chassis and engine departments.
"We started really early in designing the first concept of the 2018 car, and started also fairly early on the engine – which is very much a carry over of last year," he said.
"Everything had to be better and more robust in terms of reliability, which has been the main focus.
"Really the target was to have a very healthy platform from which we could build and bring some extra performance in the season. We feel it is going to be a race for development.
“Every single time we put the car into the wind tunnel, we find more gains and there is much more to come. So it was really about making sure that we have the systems in place – particularly suspension and gearbox.
"We had so much deficit that we needed to make up in one car, so there are many things that are in that one and obviously there is more to come."
The team was in full force in Barcelona on Saturday, taking advantage of its authorised 'filming day' to conduct a shakedown of the R.S.18 before Monday's test programmes begin.
"We don’t have all the aerodynamic parts yet, it’s just a filming day, it’s not the purpose to find out about the performance yet,” said Hulkenberg, who did a short run with Carlos Sainz"s helmet for filming purposes.
"The car is running fine so far, everything is running smoothly so that’s the main thing that’s important today.
"Last year we had quite a troubled winter testing. We should be much more prepared and sorted than that this year."
Check out the short video of Hulkenberg's run in the R.S.18.
— Renault Sport F1 (@RenaultSportF1) February 24, 2018