Cyril Abiteboul says he sees next weekend's Spanish Grand Prix as a “marker in the sand” for Renault and is confident the team will start to gain momentum as its development programme kicks in.
Kevin Magnussen put the Enstone squad back in the points in Russia, making the most of a strong start to eventually charge through from 17th on the grid to seventh at the chequered flag.
Abiteboul concedes the team is unlikely to be able to repeat that in Barcelona, but still feels the start of the European season is significant, and the first race as “our” team.
“Getting points in Russia was a good fillip for the team after the tough race in China. We were reliable and competitive enough to out-race our closest competition and that took a lot of hard work. That said, we acknowledge it took a cocktail of circumstances and repeating the result in Spain would be tough,” confirmed Abiteboul, Renault Sport F1's managing director
“However, Barcelona is the start of our development program and we will see some new developments coming through in the race, with several others scheduled for the test afterwards.
“We look at this race as a marker in the sand: the exit point of our recovery from the takeover and the first race as 'our' team. It will start small, but I'm confident we will gain momentum as we go forward.”
Meanwhile, Renault chassis technical director, Nick Chester, revealed exactly what updates the team will get: “For the race we have an updated rear wing as well as some updates for the front wing. Jolyon [Palmer] will [also] run with a new chassis,” Chester said.
“For the test we have a full raft of things to try; new suspension, further aero updates over various areas of the car, some mods to cooling as well as evaluating the B-spec power unit, so we should have a full two days.”
Asked what sort of result the team might claim a week Sunday, Chester replied: “We fared decently in relative terms at pre-season testing there and when you look at the qualities required for a handy car around the circuit there are no initial fears from our side. That's not to say we wouldn't welcome some more downforce, but there's potential as we currently stand.”