Robert Kubica admits that it is crucial that Renault gets to grips with its F-duct as quickly as possible this weekend at Spa if the team is to make the most of the new part.
Renault becomes the latest team to introduce the F-duct for the Belgian race as it seeks to beat Mercedes in the race for fourth place in the standings.
Currently Mercedes lies 26 points ahead as racing resumes following the summer shutdown but Renault will hope to benefit from the introduction of the new aerodynamic device – with Spa being a circuit where the extra speed generated by stalling the rear wing could help the team increase its performance.
Kubica does however admit that the team will need to come to grips with the part quickly if it is to benefit during the course of the weekend.
“From the team's point of view, we will be running the F-duct for the first time this weekend, and we hope it will work straight away so that we have as much practice time as possible to extract the maximum performance from this system,” he said. “We have seen a tendency for cars running the F-duct to use higher downforce levels than normal, because they can stall the rear wing and still generate good top speed.
“I think that will change the approach to Spa, too, because teams will be able to run quite a lot of downforce and still achieve good top speed. Although this is a circuit we all like driving on, it's still a track where car performance is very important.”
Kubica added that he was hoping to make a return to form in Belgium after a loss of form prior to the summer break, which saw him fail to score in two of the three races before F1 entered its annual shutdown.
“After such a long break, I'm not thinking about the last race but more on what's coming up,” he said. “It will be a tough end to the season, because we have just two more races in Europe followed by some long trips to Asia, South America and the Middle East.
“I've been out of luck in the last three races, with no points in Silverstone or Budapest, so I would like to get back to how we were racing earlier in the year: scoring regular points and fighting for good positions. I think the target for myself and the whole team will be to close the gap to the top teams during these races.”