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
The inconvenient truth about F1’s ‘American driver’ dream Plus

The inconvenient truth about F1’s ‘American driver’ dream

OPINION: The Formula 1 grid's wait for a new American driver looks set to continue into 2023 as the few remaining places up for grabs - most notably at McLaren - look set to go elsewhere. This is despite the Woking outfit giving tests to IndyCar aces recently, showing that the Stateside single-seater series still has some way to go to being seen as a viable feeder option for F1

How a bad car creates the ultimate engineering challenge Plus

How a bad car creates the ultimate engineering challenge

While creating a car that is woefully off the pace is a nightmare scenario for any team, it inadvertently generates the test any engineering department would relish: to turn it into a winner. As Mercedes takes on that challenge in Formula 1 this season, McLaren’s former head of vehicle engineering reveals how the team pulled of the feat in 2009 with Lewis Hamilton

Formula 1
Aug 15, 2022
The under-fire F1 driver fighting for his future Plus

The under-fire F1 driver fighting for his future

Personable, articulate 
and devoid of the usual
 racing driver airs and graces,
 Nicholas Latifi is the last Formula 1 driver you’d expect to receive death threats, but such was the toxic legacy of his part in last year’s explosive season finale. And now, as ALEX KALINAUCKAS explains, he faces a battle to keep his place on the F1 grid…

Formula 1
Aug 13, 2022
The strange tyre travails faced by F1’s past heroes Plus

The strange tyre travails faced by F1’s past heroes

Modern grand prix drivers like to think the tyres they work with are unusually difficult and temperamental. But, says  MAURICE HAMILTON, their predecessors faced many of the same challenges – and some even stranger…

Formula 1
Aug 12, 2022
The returning fan car revolution that could suit F1 Plus

The returning fan car revolution that could suit F1

Gordon Murray's Brabham BT46B 'fan car' was Formula 1 engineering at perhaps its most outlandish. Now fan technology has been successfully utilised on the McMurtry Speirling at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, could it be adopted by grand prix racing once again?

Formula 1
Aug 11, 2022
Hamilton's first experience of turning silver into gold Plus

Hamilton's first experience of turning silver into gold

The seven-time Formula 1 world champion has been lumbered with a duff car before the 2022 Mercedes. Back in 2009, McLaren’s alchemists transformed the disastrous MP4-24 into a winning car with Lewis Hamilton at the wheel. And now it’s happening again at his current team, but can the rate of progress be matched this year?

Formula 1
Aug 11, 2022
Why few could blame Leclerc for following the example of Hamilton’s exit bombshell Plus

Why few could blame Leclerc for following the example of Hamilton’s exit bombshell

OPINION: Ferrari's numerous strategy blunders, as well as some of his own mistakes, have cost Charles Leclerc dearly in the 2022 Formula 1 title battle in the first half of the season. Though he is locked into a deal with Ferrari, few could blame Leclerc if he ultimately wanted to look elsewhere - just as Lewis Hamilton did with McLaren 10 years prior

Formula 1
Aug 9, 2022
The other McLaren exile hoping to follow Perez's path to a top F1 seat Plus

The other McLaren exile hoping to follow Perez's path to a top F1 seat

After being ditched by McLaren earlier in his F1 career Sergio Perez fought his way back into a seat with a leading team. BEN EDWARDS thinks the same could be happening to another member of the current grid

Formula 1
Aug 8, 2022