Renault team boss Eric Boullier says he is hopeful that an upgrade package being introduced for the Belgian Grand Prix this weekend will help the team to overhaul Mercedes in the race for fourth in the constructors' championship.
The team has worked hard over the summer break to try and make improvements to the R31 after a difficult weekend in Hungary prior to the break getting underway.
Renault's preparations for the Spa race have been overshadowed by speculation about the future of Nick Heidfeld after reports that Bruno Senna is to replace him this weekend but – while not discussing any drivers – Boullier said he was hopeful for a strong showing to close the gap to Mercedes in the title race.
“We're approaching the Belgian Grand Prix with some developments to the car which, we hope, will benefit us greatly,” he said. “It's a complete package including a new floor, a re-worked exhaust and a different rear suspension arrangement; it really will be quite comprehensive and I hope we will see results from these enhancements.
“Our expectations are still to finish with both cars in the top ten. We need to catch up with Mercedes GP, who has replaced us in fourth position. In Spa we will see if the upgrades are enough to do this, but I hope they will be.”
Boullier added that the upgrades planned for Spa would be vital for the remainder of Renault's season, with focus already starting to switch towards 2012.
“We are now at a point where we switch a lot of our resources to next year's car, which of course adds new challenges,” he said. “Crucially, we need to see what impact our upgrades have at the forthcoming races in Spa, Monza and Singapore. It is this, above all else, that will be the key indicator in how fruitful the remainder of our season is. We're back and we're looking forward to finding out.”