Renault is looking into the characteristics of its Formula 1 car in a bid to solve what managing director Cyril Abiteboul describes as “strange” behavior of late.
On its return to F1 as a works outfit Renault has so far struggled so far this season, scoring points only once in the first five grands prix, albeit recognizing it can improve in certain areas. Tied to its power unit, which won the Spanish Grand Prix in the back of Max Verstappen’s Red Bull, it believes it will make progress.
“From Renault’s perspective we really have something to understand on tires as we’ve been struggling a bit,” said Abiteboul. “It’s strange because the car was a bit more competitive in qualifying [in Spain] than it was in the race, which is opposite to what has happened in the previous weekends. “So we need to understand that because we know there is an element in the package that is working, which is the engine.”
Renault ran the rule over an engine upgrade during the two-day in-season test at Barcelona’s Circuit de Catalunya, with the drivers from both the works team and Red Bull providing positive feedback.
The new engine-spec is expected to improve laptime considerably, certainly by at least two tenths of a second, with both teams set to have one at their disposal this weekend in Monaco. Abiteboul is convinced that with the new engine there will be further podiums for Red Bull, but more importantly points finishes for Renault, providing it can get on top of its concerns.
“Our team will benefit from the revolution of the engine as quickly as possible, but we also need to look at other areas like the tires,” added Abiteboul. “It’s an area where we feel we can gain fairly quickly and efficiently, just by understanding better about what’s going on with our usage of the tire.”