Renault is another team that has been a big improver in 2018. The French squad has scored points in all but one race, and its stark increase in Q3 appearances, points, top five and top 10 finishes all point to a team on the rise.
A fifth-placed finish for Carlos Sainz in Baku was Renault’s best race finish since returning to the sport in 2016, Nico Hulkenberg also snagging fifth on home soil at Hockenheim.
But it’s nothing less than the team expected as it aims to return to the top of the sport.
SOUNDBITE (French): ALAIN PROST
4-TIME F1 WORLD CHAMPION
"What we are expecting is clearly a progression. There has been a lot of work done at factories in Viry-Chatillon or Enstone in England. Recruitment of staff for two years now. We will now be able to judge our progress. We need to get closer to the best teams."
Those results have been enough to lure a driver the calibre of Daniel Ricciardo for 2019, Renault able to sign him away from Red Bull in a shock coup.
But it’s Red Bull that looms as the spectre over Renault’s progress in 2018.
Not once in qualifying or racing this year, when each has had a car finish, has the factory squad beaten its engine customer, and Renault lies 141 points behind Red Bull in the standings.
It also remains to be seen how the change in highly-renowned Bob Bell’s role, shifting from Chief Technical Officer to Technical Advisor, affects the squad’s upward trajectory in the future.