France is a big race for Renault, with pride on the line as the squad heads home to the birthplace of Grand Prix racing, and its adoring, passionate public…one looking forward to a return to the glory days…
… when Fernando Alonso led Renault to back-to-back world title doubles, 2006’s R26 the first of the screaming V8-powered cars.
The French marque has been flat-out in the lead-up to its home race, with a 14-date national roadshow tour. Nice, one of the most stunning locations, where Daniel Ricciardo took the 2012 Renault-V6-powered E20 down the Promenade des Anglais… before serving up doughnuts to the crowd.
Importantly for its home fans, Renault is on the rise… the squad now in fifth place in the standings. Just two points behind McLaren, and fourth a realistic ambition after a torrid start to the season.
Canada was a huge boost for the squad with its first double points finish for 2019 doubling its haul, with Ricciardo’s fourth in qualifying the squad’s highest grid slot since Robert Kubica’s effort in Japan 2010.
… and Ricciardo is on a roll at his new squad.
He’s so far outqualified teammate Nico Hülkenberg 6-1, and outraced him 3-1 when they could be compared. He’s also got four more points, despite one more DNF, with 16 compared to 12.
But there’s potential for things to heat up moving forward with Hülkenberg’ ordered to stay behind his teammate in Canada for maximum points. And the German racer, who is yet to get a podium, still with more to give.
SOUNDBITE (English) ALAIN PROST,
4-TIME F1 WORLD CHAMPION:
“I’m sure that Nico with Daniel altogether, they’re going to fight. It’s going to be quite a tough fight on the track, I’m sure. I hope it will be in a sporting way because at the end we want to get the team in the best level. But Nico can, in my opinion, put his level even higher than what he is at the moment.”
So, after a wobbly start to the season, it seems Renault has finally turned the corner, and at just the right time as it heads home to France - armed with a ton of upgrades.