Despite the Renault Sport F1 team securing their first points of the season during the Russian Grand Prix two weeks ago, Racing Director Fred Vasseur insists the team still have a lot of work to do to be truly competitive in Formula 1.
Kevin Magnussen’s strong drive to seventh broke the team’s points scoring duck at the Sochi Autodrom, but Vasseur believes that this was not down to the team suddenly finding time on track but merely down to the driver maximising what he had and making no mistakes during the race.
“It’s no secret, we still have plenty of work to do,” revealed Vasseur. “That will be the story all year. Russia was a good weekend for us as we saw the whole team deliver and our first points of the year were a result.
“That was great for everyone and a good reward for all the effort being put in. Equally it doesn’t change the work we have to do: make the car faster, and ensure we make no mistakes in any aspect of our work.
“In Russia the car didn’t suddenly gain a lot of performance, rather the team and Kevin in particular were able to extract the maximum and external circumstances also fell our way.
“Not every race will fall for us in this way, but we always want to deliver the maximum possible as well as improving the maximum potential itself.”
Vasseur believes the current driver line-up of Magnussen and Jolyon Palmer is strong, and he remains committed to this line-up for the future, laying praise on both drivers despite the difficult start to the year with the RS16.
“We have a strong line-up and one we’re happy with and committed to,” said Vasseur. “Kevin has performed very well in his return to Formula 1 and Jolyon is approaching his rookie season in a clear and methodical manner.
“It’s true that Jolyon had a couple of races where he didn’t deliver as he wanted, equally this is natural in a driver’s first season; he’s learning and making strong progress.”
Vasseur is also happy with the calibre of drivers that are all linked with the Renault programme, with Esteban Ocon participating in the opening free practice of this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix in place of Palmer, while Sergey Sirotkin and Nicholas Latifi also have had outings for the team in recent weeks.
“As well as our race drivers we have a very strong line-up behind them,” revealed Vasseur. “We saw Sergey Sirotkin do a very good job in FP1 in Russia and we will see Esteban Ocon take to the wheel in Barcelona.
“Just this week we had Nicholas Latifi complete a vital part of his programme by driving a 2012 Formula 1 car, the E20, at Silverstone. Beyond that, we have the Renault Sport Academy, most of whom will be in action in the support categories in Spain.”