25 March 2016
F1 Bahrain GP: Renault to run with prototype wing
After finding a solid baseline in Melbourne, Renault will be looking to add performance to its RS16, starting in Bahrain next weekend.
Renault expects to run its first major front wing development on both of its cars in next weekend's Bahrain Grand Prix, after round one in Australia provided a solid return for the team.
Although neither Jolyon Palmer or Kevin Magnussen were able to score points for the Enstone operation in Melbourne, Renault enjoyed a largely trouble-free weekend, allowing it to build on its performance in testing.
"The car behaved as we expected," chief technical officer Bob Bell confirmed, "We had ironed out any problems in testing - or knew how to fix them - so we came to Melbourne prepared.
"In qualifying, we were a little better than expected, but the pace of the car in the race itself was good. We looked after the tyre wear very well and, in race trim, the car behaved itself on short and long runs. Kevin was unfortunate to get a puncture so early on, but he recovered well, while we couldn't have asked for more from Jolyon. Overall, it was pretty good. We didn't score any points, but we are eighth in the championship – first of the people not to have any points! – and I think for a first race as Renault it's a credible position to be in."
Having a predictable car and reasonable pace should allow Renault to focus on specific areas going forward.
"We have a solid understanding of the car, we don't have to work hard to understand performance problems, so now it is more a case of going back to base, reviewing, and then finding a clear route," Bell confirmed, "That's a great baseline and you can add real performance when you have that.
"In the first half of the year, we will concentrate on the engine and have a normal development programme for the chassis. We will have the standard aero developments from race to race, as everyone will do, then have the complex mechanical items that will come through when we get into the European testing programme. We brought a prototype front wing to Melbourne that Kevin used and it appears to have lived up to expectations, so it will be on both cars in Bahrain.
"I don't think we've seen anything at Barcelona or Melbourne that is worrying. Barcelona is pretty indicative of standard aero levels and mechanical grip, so we haven't seen anything that concerns us for the major tracks. Naturally, though, we would like to repeat the form we saw in Australia, and maybe sneak into the tail end of the points if we can."
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