Renault believes it is back in Formula 1's midfield

Renault is back fighting in Formula 1's midfield after it competed with Williams on race pace in the Japanese Grand Prix, Jolyon Palmer and Fred Vasseur believe

Renault believes it is back in Formula 1's midfield

The French manufacturer has had a frustrating F1 season, having purchased Lotus over the winter, but in the last three races has enjoyed an upturn in form.

Renault poised to sign Hulkenberg for 2017

It scored points for just the second and third times this campaign in Singapore and Malaysia, and while Renault missed out at Suzuka, there were signs its outright performance had taken a step forward.

Palmer matched the pace of Williams's Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas, who ended up in the points.

However he lost out in traffic and ultimately finished 12th with team-mate Kevin Magnussen 14th in a race with no retirements.

"The pace was really good, the same as Massa in the Williams," Palmer told Autosport.

"I just got caught up in traffic quite a lot, and lost a bit there.

"Everything else was quite smooth. We had good pace, good strategy, kept the tyres alive and that's what we've been doing quite well the last two races.

"We managed to jump into the midfield.

"McLaren had a bad weekend, which was good for us, Toro Rosso have slipped back - Singapore they had a one off good one - so I think there's now more people in the midfield.

"We pretty much matched Williams in the race, they were a little bit quicker than us in qualifying.

"Finishing 12th is very good and if you do that every race we would be getting points most races as normally you can expect a couple of cars in the top half to drop out or have some sort of scruffiness in the race."

Team principal Vasseur agreed Renault is on an upward trajectory, but said qualifying is an area it is still lacking.

"The performance was there in FP3 and we had approximately the same pace in the race, we were fighting with the Williams," told Autosport.

"We have to understand exactly what is happening in qualifying.

"We didn't do a good job altogether and we have to improve on our qualifying pace - that for sure is the key of the weekend.

"We know that we have a lack of downforce and that we didn't manage 100% the situation in qualifying.

"Then if you look at FP3 and qualifying, between P8 and P20 was very close so it means that as soon as you are in good form, you are at the top of the group and if you do a mistake you are at the back."

RENAULT'S PURE PACE
Fastest time set by a Renault driver in each 2016 grand prix weekend, across all sessions, relative to the outright fastest of the weekend (100%).

Australia: 104.060%
Bahrain: 104.121%
China: 103.429%
Russia: 103.752%
Spain: 103.201%
Monaco: 103.309%
Canada: 103.635%
Azerbaijan: 103.734%
Austria: 102.587%
Great Britain: 103.906%
Hungary: 102.464%
Germany: 103.057%
Belgium: 101.631%
Italy: 103.815%
Singapore: 104.134%
Malaysia: 102.614%
Japan: 102.371%

shares
comments
Lewis Hamilton was working overtime in Japan - Nico Rosberg

Previous article

Lewis Hamilton was working overtime in Japan - Nico Rosberg

Next article

The real battle behind F1's test venue row

The real battle behind F1's test venue row
Load comments
How Lotus F1 uncovered, then squandered its last ‘unfair advantage’ Plus

How Lotus F1 uncovered, then squandered its last ‘unfair advantage’

Cast in the mould of its founder Colin Chapman, Lotus was powerful and daring but 
flawed – as it proved through further soaring peaks and painful troughs into the 1980s. DAMIEN SMITH examines a game-changing era

The core problems Yas Marina’s long-awaited tweaks won't address Plus

The core problems Yas Marina’s long-awaited tweaks won't address

OPINION: Changes to the layout of Abu Dhabi’s circuit aim to reverse the trend of insipid Formula 1 races there - the promoter has even described one of the new corners as “iconic”. And that, argues STUART CODLING, is one of this venue’s abiding failings

Formula 1
Jul 26, 2021
How Ferrari offered Britain's next F1 prospect what Red Bull couldn't Plus

How Ferrari offered Britain's next F1 prospect what Red Bull couldn't

Last year's Formula 2 runner-up Callum Ilott could be on his way to becoming the first Briton to contest a grand prix in an Alfa Romeo since Reg Parnell in 1950. But, says OLEG KARPOV, the Ferrari Driver Academy protege is having to temper his ambition at the moment – outwardly at least…

Formula 1
Jul 25, 2021
The signs that point to F1's rude health Plus

The signs that point to F1's rude health

OPINION: Formula 1's calendar might still be facing disruption as the pandemic affects travel but, says MARK GALLAGHER, the business itself is fundamentally strong thanks to the epic rivalry taking place on track and the consistent arrival of new sponsors

Formula 1
Jul 24, 2021
The unexpected benefit of F1’s sprint race repeat Plus

The unexpected benefit of F1’s sprint race repeat

OPINION: Formula 1's sprint race trial at Silverstone drew mixed feedback on Saturday, but there remained the true test of how it would impact Sunday's Grand Prix. While fans were busy marvelling at Fernando Alonso's progress, a key lesson was being learned that would directly contribute to the dramatic lap one clash at Copse the following day

Formula 1
Jul 22, 2021
The off-track considerations that led to F1’s Hamilton/Verstappen Silverstone shunt Plus

The off-track considerations that led to F1’s Hamilton/Verstappen Silverstone shunt

OPINION: Formula 1’s 2021 title fight turned ugly last weekend when Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton collided at the start of the British Grand Prix. Verstappen thankfully walked away unharmed, but this had been a clash long-since coming

Formula 1
Jul 21, 2021
Will 2022's all-new cars look like F1's concept model? Plus

Will 2022's all-new cars look like F1's concept model?

Formula 1 provided its clearest example yet of what the 2022 cars are set to look like when it presented a full-scale concept to the world during the build-up to last weekend’s British Grand Prix. Underneath the special shiny livery was a design that hinted at the future, but teams will be digging into key areas that may reap differing results

Formula 1
Jul 20, 2021
British Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

British Grand Prix Driver Ratings

The 2021 British Grand Prix will live long in the memory for the dramatic clash between Formula 1's two title protagonists, which opened the door for other drivers to capitalise. One did so in spectacular fashion, while others fluffed their lines

Formula 1
Jul 19, 2021