Bob Bell, the Chief Technical Officer of the Renault Sport Formula One Team, feels that the Suzuka International Racing Course should suit their R.S.17 this weekend as the team continue to aim for fifth place in the Constructors’ Championship.
Bell feels Suzuka is much like Spa-Francorchamps and Silverstone when it comes to speed, and at both venues, Nico Hülkenberg secured sixth place finishes, and it should be possible for both the German and team-mate Jolyon Palmer to break into the top ten this weekend.
“It’s a challenging track and a Grand Prix which always produces exciting racing,” said Bell. “The circuit is a mix of low and high-speed corners and frequent changes of direction such as the S bends.
“It should suit the R.S.17; speed-wise it’s a bit like Spa and Silverstone where we went well. We head to Japan feeling hungry and positive. We want to get over the disappointment of Sepang as rapidly as possible.”
Bell feels that whatever the weather in Japan, Renault should be able to compete for points, with their wet weather performances at late getting progressively more competitive, particularly in the early stages of the Singapore Grand Prix where Hülkenberg ran as high as third.
“Japan is a venue where you never quite know what you’re likely to get with the weather,” said Bell. “We have seen numerous wet races in Suzuka across the years and even some more extreme weather too.
“However, if we look at our recent wet weather performance, we can see that we struggled a bit in Monza on the Intermediates, but we weren’t bad in the Wets in Singapore. We’re making progress and learning how to handle different conditions.
“In summation, we don’t go to Japan with many major concerns. We need to keep working on our reliability as we have the pace in the car to meet our objectives, it’s more a case of getting the car across the line with both drivers.”