Renault waits on next major upgrade
|By Jonathan Noble||Friday, April 15th 2011, 04:01 GMT|
Renault has decided to wait until the Turkish Grand Prix to run the latest of its major updates, with the team confident that small tweaks to its R31 will be enough to help it challenge for a podium finish once again in China.
The Enstone-based outfit ran with a revised front wing, floor and diffuser in Malaysia last weekend - but decided against also committing to an improved rear-wing.
And, with only a week between Malaysia and China, team principal Eric Boullier has said that Renault will now wait until Istanbul for its new wing as it already has enough small tweaks to try out.
"With the logistics issue it was too complicated, and we have enough small updates to try for the Friday practice," he told AUTOSPORT.
Boullier also confirmed that the team was also evaluating further tweaks to its already impressive start system – which has played an important role in helping the team secure podiums in Australia and Malaysia.
"We always try to investigate ways on how we can improve the starts," he said. "We can still fine-tune the one we have, so we can improve a little bit.
"Because of the return of KERS this year, we worked on the start strategy – because if you invest in KERS it makes sense to maximise its impact. There are a couple of things we have found out."
Boullier has said that he will be satisfied if Renault can outpace Ferrari in China this weekend – because that will then give it a chance of fighting for a podium again.
"I think a reasonable target is to improve enough to be in front of Ferrari. Then it is up to race incidents to get on to the podium, or good starts, or strategy.
"I don't believe from one race to another we will be much faster, but it was good for us that we got two podiums from two different track layouts. It means we have a good car, a good base, but obviously it will not be easy to catch up with the big boys in front. My expectation is to keep our aim – to improve and to improve enough to catch up with Ferrari."
Renault will also conduct further examination into the strength of its steering column mounts after Vitaly Petrov's broke in Malaysia following his high-speed aerial accident.
"I think we estimated about 30G the vertical load – and he still had the steering wheel in his hand, so on top of it he added to the force," explained Boullier.
"James [Allison, technical director] wants to have a look to see if we can reinforce it in a way. It is not necessary, but I don't want it to happen again."