Renault Sport Formula One Team will present a new floor upgrade at the next round in the Belgian Grand Prix, confirmed by the team’s chassis technical director Nick Chester.
After the summer break, F1 returns to action at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit, kick starting the second half of the season, and Renault lie fourth overall in the championship ahead of Haas F1 Team with 82 points in the standings. They’ll look to extend it as the midfield pack becomes more competitive.
Chester says that Spa is a track that heavily relies on engine power but also factors in how the weather can play a crucial role.
“Spa is a very interesting race track,” said Chester. “It’s power sensitive, especially nowadays with corners like Eau Rouge and Pouhon taken flat or close to flat out. Spa has always been a power sensitive track, but that has been increased in recent years, with around 20 seconds of full throttle between La Source and Les Combes.
“The weather can play a huge role too and you can have anything from being hot and dry to heavy rain. There are good overtaking opportunities into Les Combes after the Kemmel Straight if you get a good drag up the hill and also into the bus-stop chicane.”
The 4.3-mile circuit is often a challenging track for teams to set up, due to the track presenting long and fast straights, as well as tricky medium to high speed corners. Chester says that finding the balance between being quick in the straights but still have downforce on the car is difficult to find.
“It can be a tricky place to set-up for as you want to take drag off the car because the straights are long, but you have an area where you need quite a bit of downforce from the top of the hill heading down.
“Setting the wing level is a difficult choice as you push towards the medium downforce settings and we’ll be looking at the scans to pick the right rear wing. We want to be quick enough on the straight and still have downforce on the car. You’re trying to set the car up for the best lap time, while also competing against other cars who are quicker on the straight and therefore have to take more wing off than you like.
“We’ll be weighing all that up to get a decent starting set-up and then also see what everyone else is doing.”
The weather at Spa can often play a big factor as the large scale circuit located within the ardennes forests near Stavelot could see some parts of the track wet and others dry, and Chester says that wet weather can favour their car as proven in the last round in Hungary, where a wet qualifying helped Carlos Sainz Jr. place his R.S.18 in fifth place.
“We don’t usually go to a track hoping it’ll be wet, but we know from Hungary the car works well when it rains,” Chester continued. “We won’t be worried if it does rain. Nico (Hülkenberg) and Carlos are good in those conditions and our car works well in the wet, so it wouldn’t be a problem.”
Chester also confirmed that Renault will introduce several upgrades to the R.S.18 for Belgium, including a new floor as they aim push up the field.
“We have a new floor for Spa and some other bodywork parts to go with that, which should be helpful.”