Renault planning Japanese Grand Prix upgrade
Renault is planning a second in-season upgrade for around the time of the Japanese Grand Prix, as Red Bull expresses optimism the French car manufacturer can make some 'significant progress'.
On the back of a decent leap forward in performance with its B-spec engine that arrived at the Monaco Grand Prix, Renault still has plenty of engine development tokens left to allow it to make further improvements.
It has spent the fewest of any of the manufacturers so far, having used just 11 tokens, which leaves it with 21 that can be used over the remainder of the season.
Speaking at a Red Bull media event ahead of the Austrian Grand Prix, Horner revealed that Renault was planning an end-of-season performance leap with a development step coming for Suzuka.
“I think it will probably be around Japan time,” explained Horner. “You would have to speak to Renault about that but that is what they've indicated to us.”
When asked what type of upgrade it could be, Horner said: “I think they’ve found the development path now and they’re making good progress. I think that now they've found that direction, hopefully we should start to see significant progress.”
Daniel Ricciardo believes that the work Renault has done for this season has re-established his faith in the engine partnership, and he hopes the trend continues.
"In the end, [this year] it's still been a little been up-and-down, but generally, I know for a fact the car is better than last year, and obviously we're finding more with the engine,” he said.
“I think that's all you can ask for - as long as you feel improvements, then you know you're going in the right direction.
"I can feel the chassis is working and doing more what I want it to do, that is positive, and it means the aerodynamicists are on to something so you keep feeding them feedback and hopefully it just keeps pushing it in that direction.”
Horner explained that the extra power on tap has also ensured that the team is not as compromised with its downforce levels, because it no longer has to sacrifice corner performance for straightline speed.
“I think we’re still running very light on downforce but we’re just going a bit quicker,” he said. “And of course that then introduces other issues which might have contributed to our [tyre] issues in Baku.
“But the engine definitely has been a step forward this year so we are able to get to a position now where we can be competitive on the straight if we back a bit of wing out of it. And then it’s finding that compromise for obviously the medium and lower speed corners.”
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