Force India deputy team principal Bob Fernley admits it is already going to be “challenging” for his team to try and catch Renault in the battle for fourth in the constructors’ championship.
Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg and Carlos Sainzs ecured seventh and eighth respectively in the Canadian Grand Prix, with Esteban Ocon scoring just two points for Force India in ninth place. While the pace was very similar between the two teams, Renault pulled 28 points clear of sixth-place Force India as a result and Fernley — whose team is now 12 points adrift of McLaren — says fourth position is looking increasingly difficult to chase.
“I think the position that Renault are in is obviously very strong,” Fernley told RACER. “We’re still encouraged that we were only just squeaked out of taking the top spot in terms of best of the rest in qualifying. So it was very close. Race-wise, I think we could have won the battle there had we not had a slow pit stop. But sometimes it’s the place you finish and the points that come in.
“Renault did a good job, and I think it’s going to be challenging to pull that deficit back. I think the key thing first of all for us is to focus on McLaren. We need to take it a step at a time.”
And Fernley says an attempt to overhaul McLarenit will still take time, given that the season has settled down somewhat and there are only limited points on offer to those in the midfield at most weekends.
“Probably we have to patiently close that gap, and it gets harder as the season goes on because of course it gets more consolidated and you’re picking up less and less points. You’ve got to wait for the weather to change or various bits and pieces to come into play to give you those variables to score big.
“The next three races are going to be interesting for us because they’re back on to traditional circuits and that will determine whether our aero packages that we’ve been working on are delivering.”