The Renault Sport F1 team has so far struggled with its performance on its return to F1 as an out and out constructor, with driver Jolyon Palmer in particular feeling uneasy with the balance of the RS16.
The squad did manage to harness their potential at the Russian Grand Prix, where Kevin Magnussen was able to finish an impressive seventh, whilst fighting for position in the midfield and always being in the game. Since that only points scoring outing however, they have returned to finishing out of the top ten once again, which has prompted Renault Managing Director Cyril Abiteboul to ask for the characteristics of the RS16 to be investigated, as he believes the chassis has been demonstrating “strange” behaviour.
The French squad is confident that the engine is not the source of their woes, as customer team Red Bull Racing proved through their win at the Spanish Grand Prix. Speaking to Autosport.com Abiteboul advised they still need to understand some of the workings of the RS16, and in particular the tyres which is an area where they are definitely losing out in at the moment.
“From Renault’s perspective we really have something to understand on tyres as we’ve been struggling a bit. 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.”
Abiteboul believes that the new engine, which could give them up to half a second lap time improvement, will give them the step up in performance they need to see them finish in the points more regularly, it is just a shame that this weekend there will only be one engine available for each of the two teams.
“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 tyres. “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 tyre.
“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 tyre.”
Kevin Magnussen will be the driver to receive the updated engine for Renault this weekend, having demonstrated his confidence behind the wheel of the RS16. The new specification PU should see the Dane gain around 0.2 seconds a lap in Monaco, whilst other tracks will see further gains.