[F1 2018 NEWS FEATURE] RENAULT SPORT: RESERVING JUDGEMENT

Renault may not have taken a taken a step forward in Australia, with Nico Hülkenberg finishing seventh and Carlos Sainz 10th.

But the team is confident the RS18’s true pace will be unleashed over the next few races, given Albert Park’s unique layout and challenge.

SOUNDBITE (English) NICO HÜLKENBERG,
F1 DRIVER, RENAULT:
“Melbourne is not always the greatest reference, because the track is a little bit special. But it’s important that we, as a team, we develop over the year also and keep moving closer to the front.”

The squad’s goal this year is to build on the momentum generated during 2017, when it jumped three spots in the constructors’ championship. 

… a result of the manufacturer’s investment in infrastructure and people, and reintegration of its Enstone and Viry-Chatillon bases. 

SOUNDBITE (English) NICO HÜLKENBERG,
F1 DRIVER, RENAULT:
“The structures that we’ve built now and put in place. I think everything is kind of settling down now. And we just need to extract more and more from the infrastructure and the people and everything that we have got in the team now. And I think, bit by bit, we’re trying to play catch up, and obviously catch the big teams.”

But the squad will need to work even harder, given 2018’s brutal midfield fight with rivals Haas, McLaren, Toro Rosso and Force India.

The development war is already underway, with most teams sporting huge upgrade packages for the season opener in Melbourne.

The squad, though, is keeping its powder dry in the lead-up to May’s European F1 season start in Spain.

SOUNDBITE (English) CARLOS SAINZ,
F1 DRIVER, RENAULT:
I think it’s good to let a couple of races go by, see where the car is. A couple of different tracks. Melbourne is a special one, because of the weather and it’s a bit of a street track but I’m convinced we have our chances this year and we just need to get on with it and and try to close that gap to the leaders."