Renault’s Nick Chester: “We have good potential to be strong”


Nick Chester expects a more competitive Renault in Singapore - Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd

Nick Chester believes the Renault Sport Formula 1 Team should be much more competitive around the Marina Bay Street Circuit than they were at the Italian Grand Prix, with the downforce levels required in Singapore set to be much more to the teams liking.

Neither Nico Hülkenberg or Jolyon Palmer were anywhere near to the points at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza, but Singapore should see them be much stronger, with Chester, the technical director at the Enstone-based team, expecting them to be back to where they were in the trio of races prior to Italy.

“Firstly, it’s massively different to Monza and almost a stark contrast as a high downforce package is required, and that should suit us pretty well,” said Chester. “There are a number of things to look out for: tight corners, big kerbs and a lot of traction demands, meaning it can be a hard place to get the right set-up.

“But if you have a reasonable amount of downforce you should have a quick and competitive car. We’d expect to be back to our Britain, Hungary and Spa level of performance. As ever, you have to get the compromise right as it’s a balance between a compliant chassis and not losing too much aero performance.”

Chester is happy with the progress Renault have made with the development of their RS17 this season, with the upgrades they’ve brought since the British Grand Prix in July seemingly making them the fourth fastest car on track, apart from the anomaly of the Italian Grand Prix, where a low-downforce set-up showed up their straight-line speed disadvantage.

“We’ve kept improving the car, which has been very positive,” admitted Chester. “Since Silverstone the car has been a chunk more competitive.

“Budapest and Spa kept that trend up and we were the fourth quickest car in terms of pace. We weren’t as quick in Monza, but the upcoming races should see us back to the level of performance we saw at Spa.

“There are no remaining tracks with super low downforce. We have good potential to be strong at these next three Asian races.”