Alan Permane, the trackside director of operations of the Renault Sport Formula 1 Team, admits he will not be sad to see the back of the RS16 that the team utilised during their manufacturer return to Formula 1, after scoring only eight points in 2016, far below expectations.
Renault made the decision late to return to the sport, buying out the ailing Lotus F1 Team, but the car was underdeveloped and struggled to get out of Q1 for much of the season, and never made it into Q3.
“I won’t be sad to see the back of this car,” said Permane to Autosport. “It is mentally tough to go into each race weekend with higher expectations than you know you’re going to achieve, and then battle every week to get out of Q1.
“2015 wasn’t so bad, but 2014 and 2016 have been really tough on everyone at Renault, so we’re looking forward to moving up the grid. I hope we move everything up a notch and we’ll be battling to get into Q3 or even comfortably into Q3 [in 2017].”
Permane admits that there will be more pressure to deliver on track in 2017, where Jolyon Palmer will be joined by Nico Hülkenberg, who switches over from the Sahara Force India Formula 1 Team, but has confident that the plans in place will move them up the grid.
“I’m proud of the guys and not just the race team but the whole factory, the whole of Enstone,” said Permane. “It’s been easier – we don’t have the mental worry of ‘are we going to be paid this month?’ and that sort of thing.
“Of course there is more pressure as we now need to deliver – we’re being funded better and Enstone is changing considerably. There is building work going on in several areas, it’s changing rapidly.
“Renault are delivering and are going to give us the tools so we can compete better, but it doesn’t change overnight. That said, there is a plan in process, it looks sensible and all credit to Cyril [Abiteboul, Renault managing director] and all of those guys for making it happen.”