Carlos Sainz Jr. is hopeful that the Renault Sport Formula 1 Team can take advantage of a partizan crowd at Paul Ricard this weekend and continue their record of scoring points in every round of the 2018 championship so far.
In Monaco and Canada, both Sainz Jr. and team-mate Nico Hülkenberg has registered top ten finishes, with Sainz Jr. lauding Canada as “a very strong team result”.
The Spaniard emphasised the need for a continuation of development on the R.S.18, and is confident that the upgraded Renault Sport power unit will hold the team in good stead on a circuit that demands both straightline speed and chassis balance.
“We’re coming from a very strong team result in Canada so I think we can be positive about that,” reflected Sainz. Jr.
“We need to keep developing the car at this rate, as everything we are bringing to the circuit is working and the car is getting quicker and quicker.
“Paul Ricard has quite similar characteristics to Montréal, with the two long straights and emphasis on a good top speed so if we can perform in a similar manner to Canada we’ll be happy.”
The French Grand Prix returns to the calendar after a ten year absence. For the Paul Ricard track, the wait for competitive Formula 1 action has been even longer – the last race at Le Castellet came in 1990 and was won by the team’s current adviser, Alain Prost.
Sainz Jr. said that whilst the “extra boost” provided by the atmosphere and occasion can play into Renault’s hands, they must warn against any unnecessary distractions.
“Each weekend I’m highly motivated to achieve the best result possible and this will be no different in that regard,” he added. “However, the fact that it is the home race for Renault will give us all an extra boost.
“It’ll be a busy Grand Prix off the track and there’ll be a lot of interest from media and sponsors. But when the visor goes down, it’ll be business as usual for us guys and we’ll be out there to get the maximum from it.”
Renault currently hold the ‘best of the rest’ accolade in 2018, sitting in fourth place in the Constructors’ Championship – 78 points behind third placed Aston Martin Red Bull Racing and 16 ahead of the fifth placed McLaren F1 Team. Sainz Jr. repeated his opinion that Renault are making healthy progress in their quest to return to the top of Formula 1, but must first focus on consistency.
“I feel we are making good progress every time I go on track in the Renault R.S.18 and this is translating into points, shown at the past few races,” said the Red Bull loanee.
“It’s good to be consistent and to keep picking up points at every race. That’s the target every weekend.”