13 April 2010
Renault pressing ahead with developments after strong start
Robert Kubica's strong start to 2010 is proving to be the perfect foundation for Renault's pro-active development schedule.
Renault F1 technical director James Allison has confirmed that there will be no resting on laurels at Enstone, despite Robert Kubica's fruitful start to the 2010 grand prix season.
Speaking ahead of the Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai, Allison revealed that the team is continuing to press ahead with the development of the impressive R30, with new ideas due to be introduced to the car at almost every round as the regie attempts to capitalise on Kubica's strong results in Australia and Malaysia, where he finished second and fourth respectively. The Pole currently sits seventh in a closely-packed championship table, his 30-point tally just nine off the lead.
"I think we've achieved as much as we could have realistically hoped for because our results have exceeded the current level of competitiveness of the car," Allison acknowledged, "We've made the most of the opportunities that have been presented to us and we have scored some strong results, which is a great way to start the season.
"We have made no secret of our intention to develop our car aggressively during 2010. Aggressive development means having effective ideas and getting them to the track as fast as possible. Our current rate of aerodynamic development is at an all-time high - it's at least double that of last year - while the factory is also pulling out all the stops to get our ideas to the car in around half the time compared with last year."
Allison paid tribute to Renault's CFD facility, but insisted that it wasn't just aero updates that were in the pipeline.
"CFD is a fundamental component of any aero department nowadays and, without it, we simply couldn't develop the car at our current pace," he conceded, "At the moment, CFD-derived projects are providing more than half of the aerodynamic gains that eventually end up on the car.
"For any F1 team, the design and in-season development of a car is dominated by improvements to the aerodynamics because it has the biggest impact on performance, but there are still many mechanical projects underway, such as suspension and brake developments. They don't grab the headlines because they are usually an accumulation of many dozens of small things and are not as visible as an aerodynamic upgrade."
With Kubica, in particular, regularly mixing it with rival manufacturer Mercedes, Allison is confident that the developments can eventually help Renault move ahead of its German opponent.
"I think we can because, at the moment, they're only just ahead of us on qualifying pace, whereas we seemed to have the edge on race pace in Malaysia," he reasoned, "We will have more updates in China, including a new floor and an alternative front wing, and, although this might not be enough to get ahead of Mercedes in qualifying trim, it should move us closer to their tail. If we can jump ahead of them at the start of a race, I'm confident we have the pace to stay ahead.
"The biggest difference we can expect in Shanghai is that it will bring much cooler conditions than Malaysia and Bahrain. We will have to ensure that we can make the tyres work well in the cool temperatures. We hope to take another small step towards the front in Shanghai and I think a realistic goal for the weekend is to get both drivers to bring home points."
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