Renault F1 believes they are starting to see gains from their power unit by evolving the same concept from last season. While Renault F1 accomplished its goal of finishing top of the midfield last year, there were several questions over the rate of their in-season development. This specifically refers to how Renault’s development efforts compare to their nearest rivals, Haas and Racing Point.
Renault F1 In-Season Development 2019
Once again the midfield in F1 teams appears very closely-matched based on the evidence of pre-season testing at Barcelona. As a result, in-season development will most likely play a crucial role in who wins that battle. According to a statement from Nico Hulkenberg towards the end of 2018, Renault had “lost out” over the course of the season after starting with what was convincingly the fourth-best car.
Daniel Ricciardo, who arrived from Red Bull to partner Hulkenberg in 2019 “expects good things” from the French outfit in this year’s development race. Ricciardo says that his Renault Formula 1 team will have a “quite different” car development philosophy in 2019. With this, he hopes that they will “stay ahead of the curve” and remain competitive throughout the season fighting for top spot.
Ricciardo added that “I think the philosophy this year will be quite different as far as the upgrades we get. I think the plan and the structuring is going to change, and their philosophy on what to bring and when to bring it. I believe that is going to change [as well].”
While there is some concern over in-season development, Renault has bolstered its factory in Enstone in preparation for 2019 to avoid further development issues. Technical director, Nick Chester, said that the scope of the new regulations boosted the Renault F1 team’s confidence about making progress with the RS19.
Chester claimed that it is partly because of this year’s F1 regulations that have opened up quite a lot of avenues. “So there is a lot to be developed this year, in terms front wings, brake drums, bargeboards, sidepods vanes – there’s a whole big area available for development. We put a lot of effort into our tunnel and aero programmes, so we’ll be trying to get things through as quick as we can and put those gains on the car.”
Developing Renault Formula 1 Engine
With everything seemingly in place for 2019, Ricciardo believes that Renault’s in-season progress will also come from continuous work on its engine. The French manufacturer already claimed that they have made a “substantial” step during the off-season.
Ricciardo said, “The exciting thing for Renault is that the last few years it is no secret that we have always been playing catch-up with the power unit, so the positive with that is we always feel there is more to gain than the others. So from that, I will obviously always stay optimistic and feel that in that development we can find a bit more in the season and keep closing the gap.”
In a recent interview with Renault’s engine technical director, Remi Taffin said that he thinks the only pressure they have is from their own company. They always set themselves high targets and know there is still homework to be done.
Taffin added that the way they developed for the 2019 season is no different than before but they have been working with the same concept for the last 18 months. This continuity has started to deliver and the entire Renault Formula 1 team feels that they will deliver even more.