Nick Chester, Renault F1 Team’s Chassis Technical Director, says getting the set-up right at Silverstone is always a challenge thanks to its variety of high-speed corners, long straights and technical sections.
Renault go into the British Grand Prix on the back of one of their worst weekends of the season so far at the Red Bull Ring in Austria, where neither Daniel Ricciardo nor Nico Hülkenberg were in points-scoring contention.
Chester does not expect too many surprises this weekend, but he acknowledges that the downforce levels needs to be low enough to be fast in a straight-line along those long straights, but it cannot be too low as the R.S.19 also needs pace through the turns, so compromises need to be made in order to have a quick car around the whole of the lap.
“We don’t expect too many surprises for Silverstone other than learning about the new tarmac,” said Chester. “You need good front end grip to deal with the high-speed corners and you can’t run too much downforce as there are some long straights.
“Setting up for Silverstone is always a challenge. Drivers do enjoy racing there as it is a varied circuit. The first sector is a mix of a high-speed run through Turns 1, 2 and 3 followed by a couple of slow hairpins and then the Wellington Straight.
“From there it’s more or less flat-out, especially the run through Maggots, Becketts and Chapel, which is particularly quick nowadays.”
Renault go into the weekend not knowing how the resurfaced Silverstone circuit will affect the set-up of the car, although Chester thinks it should be much smoother than it was twelve months ago after the previous attempt at resurfacing left the track significantly bumpier than expected.
“Silverstone is an interesting circuit with its layout and make-up evolving over the last couple of years,” says Chester. “Recently, it’s been resurfaced. We can’t be totally sure on what it’s going to be like until we go on track in FP1 on Friday.
“Knowing how smooth it is will influence how we set-up the car. In theory, it should be smoother and we’ll see how it settles down as the weekend goes on. It should improve session by session and it will make a massive difference to how the tyres operate.”
It is the second ‘home’ race for Renault in three rounds, and Chester admits that whilst they are always striving for good results wherever they are, getting them in either the French or British Grand Prix is extra special for everyone at the team.
“It’s always nice racing at home,” admits Chester. “The Viry staff certainly enjoyed the French Grand Prix a couple of weeks ago and now it’s Enstone’s turn for its home race.
“We always try for a good result wherever we race, but it’s extra nice when you do well in either France or Britain.”