Renault now ‘engaged’ with Formula 1 season

Daniel Ricciardo

Renault’s Engine Technical Director Remi Taffin believes that the French marque is now ‘engaged’ with its Formula 1 season ahead of another power-sensitive grand prix in France this weekend.

The Renault factory team produced its strongest weekend of 2019 to date last time out in Montreal, with Daniel Ricciardo qualifying a slightly fortuitous fourth before he and Nico Hulkenberg finished the race in sixth and seventh respectively.

It arrived at Barcelona with upgraded engines but chose not to turn them up until the following round in Monaco, once it had established a level of reliability.

While Ricciardo’s weekend in the Principality fizzled when he got stuck in traffic after a promising qualifying result, Renault claims that its Canada outing a fortnight later proved its potential.

“Montreal is an engine sensitive, high-powered track and it was pleasing to see good performance from the car,” said Taffin.

“For the first time this season, we were able to see our whole package performing throughout the entire weekend.

“What counts is doing it again and we have a great opportunity in France, our home race, to repeat that and deliver to the same level.

“We clearly have engaged with our season now, but we have more hard work to get through. We want to take fourth place back (in the constructors’ championship) and move clearly ahead of the rest.”

Team principal Cyril Abiteboul was of a similar mind, stating regarding the Canadian Grand Prix, “The result, and the manner in which we achieved it, should give us the confidence and motivation to push on through a demanding period of races with five Grands Prix before the summer break.

“France is clearly an important milestone. Not only is it our home Grand Prix at Le Castellet, but also the opportunity to demonstrate a further improvement in our competitiveness.

“While Canada, a power sensitive circuit, underlined the gains made in engine performance, France will see the introduction of several development items on the chassis.

“One thing is clear: we cannot dwell on Montreal and to aim for a repeat of that result and keep striving to reduce the gap to the front.”

Renault is two points behind its customer, McLaren, which sits fourth in the constructors’ championship, while Ricciardo is eighth and Hulkenberg 13th in the drivers’ standings.

Practice at Circuit Paul Ricard starts on Friday at 1900 AEST.

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