Renault ramps up aero focus after recent F1 struggles

Renault chief Cyril Abiteboul says the team may have to reassess its short-term aero plans after its recent difficult races.

Renault ramps up aero focus after recent F1 struggles
Kevin Magnussen, Renault Sport F1 Team RS16
Kevin Magnussen, Renault Sport F1 Team RS16
Jolyon Palmer, Renault Sport F1 Team RS16
Kevin Magnussen, Renault Sport F1 Team RS16
Kevin Magnussen, Renault Sport F1 Team RS16
Jolyon Palmer, Renault Sport F1 Team RS16
Frederic Vasseur, Racing Director, Renault Sport F1, in the GP2 paddock
Jolyon Palmer, Renault Sport F1 Team

The French car manufacturer struggled with the characteristics of the Monaco, Montreal and Baku circuits, with its chassis not well-suited to the kerb-riding and slow-speed corners that featured on all three tracks.

And although the Enstone-based outfit is confident that the faster nature of the Red Bull Ring that hosts the Austrian Grand Prix next weekend will be better for it, it knows it must make an extra effort to improve the weak areas of its car.

Abiteboul said: “The last three races have been harder than expected, possibly more difficult than we anticipated at the start of the year.

“However, nothing changes our long-term objectives; we just need to reassess how we get to them in the short and mid-term.

“We have already introduced our power unit upgrade and we know that this is one of the strongest parts of the car at present. We have also taken some steps in mechanical grip and balance and both drivers are happier with the car behaviour.

“With our strengths identified, it is much easier to work on our weaknesses. In particular we need to target improvements in qualifying and aero, and we have a plan for both of these areas. Every race is an opportunity to learn more and to keep taking those steps to be where we want to be by the end of the season.”

No Baku repeat

Renault had a particularly torrid time in Baku, with Jolyon Palmer and Kevin Magnussen ending up at the back of the grid.

But well-aware of the reasons behind its struggle there, the team has faith that such a state of affairs will not be repeated.

Team principal Fred Vasseur said: “I think Baku was just a one-off. If you look back to Barcelona, this is more representative of where we are.

“We need to manage the weekend well from the start to the finish, making the right strategic decisions to have an approach that is more global and consistent between Saturday and Sunday.”

Looking ahead of Austria, technical director Bob Bell said: “It’s an important race for us as the low-speed corner circuit layouts we’ve seen recently haven’t suited us. Austria’s much more in the R.S.16’s comfort zone.

“We left the Barcelona test feeling quite positive, and since then we’ve added the positive step of the B-specification engine, but the circuits we’ve visited subsequently have really caused our progress to falter; that’s something we must address.”

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Series Formula 1
Teams Renault F1 Team
Author Jonathan Noble
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