Renault Sport Formula One Team technical director Nick Chester believes his team are already in a tight battle for fourth in this year’s constructors’ championship.
Renault scored seven points at the 2018 Australian Grand Prix and sit fifth in the world championship behind customer McLaren F1 Team. Chester though, believes the team were hampered by the virtual safety car and that they were on for a better result.
“We’ve demonstrated we have a good package and we would have been further up the order without the virtual safety car,” he says. “That’s racing and sometimes you win some or lose some!
“The balance of the car was good for Nico [Hulkenberg] and he drove a really professional race. Carlos’[Sainz Jr.] balance wasn’t quite as good, but he also had a commendable race and got the car home.
“A double points finish is a very good way to start the season, but it’s important to back that up with another in Bahrain.”
Chester believes the team are in a battle for fourth with McLaren and the Haas F1 Team, but expects to see quite a gap to the top three teams once again in Bahrain.
“The top three teams are out in front, then after that there’s a good battle for fourth between us, Haas and McLaren.
“That’s a challenge we relish and we’ll be putting the hours in to make sure we’re right in the mix.”
As for the Bahrain Grand Prix, Chester echoes others in saying that the circuit offers a better chance for overtaking while he expects margins in the mid-field to be tight once again.
“The Bahrain International Circuit is a lot smoother than the Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit, so we’ll experience less of a problem with bumps.
“It’s got a bit more grip, a slightly different range of corner speeds and longer straights with more scope for overtaking.
“I’d expect the teams to be very closely matched as in Australia and it will certainly be another tight fight.”