Renault: 2018 form could allow early focus switch to '19 F1 design

Renault managing director Cyril Abiteboul hopes the Formula 1 team will be able to switch its R&D focus to its 2019 car early if it can maintain its current form

Renault: 2018 form could allow early focus switch to '19 F1 design

The manufacturer has scored points with both cars at each of the last three grands prix, and has gradually extended its advantage over McLaren, Force India and Haas for fourth in the constructors' standings.

Abiteboul believes that less threat from behind in the championship will put less pressure on Renault to keep up its current development rate with its 2018 car until the end of the year.

"I think it's going to be mainly about defending out fourth place in the championship," he told Autosport.

"But I'm not totally clear who we are going to have to defend that position against.

"Maybe Haas, or Force India? McLaren could be bouncing back.

"It's not clear, but it's something we have to monitor, because if we don't have a clear opposition it may be diluted, which means we can have an easier end to the season.

"And that could mean we are able to quickly shift focus to next year, which has to be the next opportunity to make a step in the championship."

Carlos Sainz Jr and Nico Hulkenberg finished eighth and ninth in France, but the team was left frustrated because Sainz - who ran as high as third after opening lap accidents - fell back from sixth with a late MGU-K failure.

"It's not a bad result, but [there are] two frustrations - the first is that we were holding sixth position with Carlos, which would have been a fantastic reward for all the team effort during the weekend, and what seemed to us like a perfect weekend for Carlos," said Abiteboul.

"Irrespective of the end result it was a weekend that showed the progress of Carlos, positioning him also a strong member and contributor to the team performance, in particular in front of such an amazing crowd and attendance.

"The other frustration is there's still obviously a big gap, seeing that the leaders can have the biggest problem you can imagine at the start of the race, and still finish ahead of you - that's frustrating."

Abiteboul said recent upgrades had improved Renault's race performance more than in qualifying.

"We've not been lapped, like Canada," he added. "We were one second slower than the leaders, when we were two seconds from the pole [previously].

"So we showed that our pace is actually pretty decent in the race, and that ties in with some upgrades that we've done to the car, in particular focussed on improving race pace.

"We need to understand the consequences that these developments may have had on qualifying pace, and see if we can overcome those issues as soon as next week in Austria."

shares
comments
Red Bull/Honda 2019 F1 engine deal at same stage as Sauber's was

Previous article

Red Bull/Honda 2019 F1 engine deal at same stage as Sauber's was

Next article

How Red Bull Formula 1 team keeps pushing aero tech boundaries

How Red Bull Formula 1 team keeps pushing aero tech boundaries
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Teams Renault F1 Team
Author Adam Cooper
Emilia Romagna Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Emilia Romagna Grand Prix Driver Ratings

A frantic wet race at Imola produced plenty of excitement and drama as drivers scrabbled for grip. Amid the hatful of mistakes and incidents that ensued, who kept their noses cleanest?

How the Emilia Romagna GP result hinged on three crucial saves Plus

How the Emilia Romagna GP result hinged on three crucial saves

Rain before the start of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix promised to spice up the action, and the race certainly delivered on that. Max Verstappen got the best launch to win from Lewis Hamilton, but both got away with mistakes that could have had serious consequences

The back-bedroom world-beater that began a new F1 era Plus

The back-bedroom world-beater that began a new F1 era

The first in a line of world beaters was designed in a back bedroom and then constructed in a shed. STUART CODLING recalls the Tyrrell 001

Formula 1
Apr 18, 2021
The clues Hamilton’s F1 contract afterthought gives to his future Plus

The clues Hamilton’s F1 contract afterthought gives to his future

The Formula 1 world reacted with surprise when it learned Lewis Hamilton’s long-awaited new Mercedes deal guarantees his presence on the grid only until the end of 2021. Both parties claimed publicly they were happy with the arrangement but, asks MARK GALLAGHER, is there more to it than that?

Formula 1
Apr 17, 2021
How a harshly ejected Red Bull star has been hooked by racing again Plus

How a harshly ejected Red Bull star has been hooked by racing again

Driver-turned-DJ Jaime Alguersuari lost his love for motorsport when he was booted out of Formula 1 just as he was starting to polish his rough edges. Having drifted from category to category then turned his back on racing altogether in 2015, he’s come full circle and is planning a return in karts for fun

Formula 1
Apr 17, 2021
Why Mercedes isn't confident it's really ahead of Red Bull at Imola Plus

Why Mercedes isn't confident it's really ahead of Red Bull at Imola

While Mercedes struck back against Red Bull by topping the times at Imola on Friday ahead of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, the overall picture remains incredibly close. Despite having a possible edge this weekend, the reigning Formula 1 world champion squad is not taking anything for granted...

Formula 1
Apr 16, 2021
What Mercedes must do to keep its F1 title challenge on track Plus

What Mercedes must do to keep its F1 title challenge on track

Mercedes may find itself leading the drivers' and constructors' standings after Lewis Hamilton's victory in the Bahrain Grand Prix, but it is well-aware that it came against the odds, with Red Bull clearly ahead on pace. Here's what the Brackley team must do to avoid its crown slipping

Formula 1
Apr 16, 2021
Why Tsunoda can become Japan’s greatest F1 talent Plus

Why Tsunoda can become Japan’s greatest F1 talent

While Japan's fever for motor racing is well-documented, the country has yet to produce a Formula 1 superstar – but that could be about to change, says BEN EDWARDS

Formula 1
Apr 15, 2021