Renault Sport Formula One Team are set to introduce new barge boards and sidepod updates for the Singapore Grand Prix, Renault Sport Formula One Team Chassis Technical Director Nick Chester has confirmed.
Formula 1 ends the European stage of the season and will head to the next round at the Marina Bay Street Circuit, known for being one of the toughest circuits on the calendar.
The Singapore street track is filled with challenging corners but also puts the drivers to the test due to the intense heat and temperatures, despite taking place at night. The location of the track is only 88 miles from the Earth’s equator, where the world’s tropical rain forests are located.
Renault are confident ahead of Singapore, which last year saw Jolyon Palmer capture his best result in F1 with sixth place in a mixed-conditioned race. Chester says the R.S.18 is good with low-speed corners and should favour them around the twisty streets of Singapore.
“It’s a relatively slow circuit with a lot of corners, which is good for us,” said Chester.
“It’s quite a tricky track for set-up where you try to setup the car to be stable on entry into corners but without too much understeer in the low-speed turns. It’s a technical track, but one which is much less power-sensitive than ones we’ve been to recently.
“Our car is good in low-speed corners, so it should suit the package quite well. It’s a unique street circuit, comparable to something in between Monaco and Abu Dhabi.”
The weather can play a critical role over the weekend as unexpected showers can arrive at the circuit at any given moment. Last year minutes before the race started, rain started to hit on the track, forcing the teams to change onto the intermediate tyres.
The intense heat the drivers will tackle can mean cooling the car will be a challenge and drivers will need to be hydrated for the race to keep their concentration up.
Chester believes that the Renault could suit well in the tricky conditions and states the drivers will have a lot of work to do over the race weekend.
“It can be a big factor. When it’s hot and humid then cooling can be tricky. When it’s wet, it’s a different challenge even though our car goes quite well in the damp conditions,” Chester continues.
“It’s a lot of hard work for the drivers when it’s humid. There are a lot of gear changes through the corners with the barriers to watch. Concentration has to be high.”
The last round at the Italian Grand Prix saw Carlos Sainz Jr. grab the team’s only points with eighth place, promoted from ninth place due to Romain Grosjean‘s disqualification for an illegal floor, which was protested by Renault themselves to the Stewards.
Chester states that car performed well at Monza with new upgrades they introduced and confirms new parts will be introduced at Singapore relating to the barge boards and sidepot vanes.
“It wasn’t a bad Grand Prix in the end. We improved the car over the weekend. We thought we would struggle with it being the biggest power-sensitive track of the year, but, actually, the car performed well.
“The car balance was good and we had a few new bits on the car, which worked as desired. We didn’t quite have the pace to get ahead of our rivals on track, but we were closer than expected and that bodes well when we travel to tracks which are twisty.
“In terms of upgrades, we have some new bargeboard and sidepod vane updates, which should be useful in Singapore.” Chester confirms.