Bob Bell says the usual plan to bring major updates to the car to the Spanish Grand Prix happened two weeks earlier this season in Azerbaijan, although there will still be some smaller upgrades this weekend and in the forthcoming races.
The Chief Technical Officer of the Renault Sport Formula One Team revealed the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya will still play host to some minor tweaks to the design of the R.S.18, but nothing like the big change they introduced to good effect around the Baku Street Circuit.
“Traditionally Barcelona has been where all the teams have brought upgrades; usually a major aerodynamic upgrade,” said Bell. “This year, the first big aero upgrade package was in Baku.
“In Barcelona, we’ll have less brand new elements. For the foreseeable races, we have upgrades coming at each race, some small, some bigger.”
Bell feels positive about the way the start of the season has gone, with thirty-five points scored across the opening four races, and it gives Renault a great platform to build on going forward and confidence they can challenge at the front of the midfield pack on a regular basis in 2018.
“I feel very positive and it’s all built off from what we did at the factory and in winter testing,” said Bell. “We had a very successful and reliable test and that’s been mirrored into the first four races with consistent points.
“The performance of the car has been pretty much where we thought it would be from winter testing. We have a very stable platform, which is a great place to be in order to develop and make the car better and better as the season progresses.
“Confidence is up, and we believe we can fight where we want to be. It’s never easy, it’s hard fought and we have to push hard all year to get the developments coming and keep us ahead of the rest of the midfield pack. We’re in a good place with a solid foundation.”
Looking forward to this weekend’s race in Spain, Bell says there it is important to get the set-up of the R.S.18 right in order to give Nico Hülkenberg and Carlos Sainz Jr. the opportunity to bag another good haul of points as they fight to take over fourth place in the Constructors’ Championship from the McLaren F1 Team.
“It’s a great testing track with a mix of high-speed and low-speed corners,” said Bell. “You get a good view of all the conditions the car operates in, which is beneficial for development.
“To get the best from the circuit, you need a car that is good in the high-speed and also good in the low-speed. It’s a nice, average track, which tests all things; the aero balance, engine performance and braking performance.
“Nothing really stands out as something you have to nail, everything needs to be good to go well in Barcelona. We went well there in winter testing and there is no reason why we can’t replicate that when it comes to the racing.”