Carlos Sainz believes Renault can make improvements to “every single aspect” of its 2018 Formula 1 car, despite the team’s strong start to the season. 

Renault is currently winning the midfield battle, having enjoyed its strongest start to a campaign since returning to full works squad status in 2016. The team has been the most consistent of its rivals so far this year and has only failed to score points on one occasion in Austria. 

“Haas has been a surprise but the target of Renault is moving that tiny bit more ahead, to that Red Bull and Ferrari [level]... Ultimately the top three are still actually our target, in a way,” Sainz explained. 

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“On the car side, every single aspect can be improved. I cannot point to one that cannot be improved at the moment in this team.”

Renault currently enjoys a 19-point buffer over midfield rivals Haas at the halfway stage of the championship, despite being outscored by the American outfit over F1’s first ever triple header, leading Nico Hulkenberg to brand Haas as the French manufacturer’s biggest threat in 2018. 

Sainz stressed his comments are constructive and not a criticism of the team’s 2018 challenger, adding he is confident Renault can maintain its current position of fourth place in the constructors’ championship. 

“And I say that as a positive, not as a critic. I think it’s constructive to say that this team, if we want to be world champions again, has to improve in every single aspect. In some more than others, for sure, but in every single aspect. I meet the people in the factory and I see very clever people that are perfectly capable of managing that.

“But still, I think this team is prepared to be fourth in the championship. We still have a lot of upgrades to come. This is the good thing about being a big team. And I’m convinced we can bounce back.”

Renault is set to be boosted by a number of upgrades - including a new front wing - at this weekend’s German Grand Prix as it bids to strengthen its grip over fourth place.