Renault admits it is not in a comfortable situation in the midfield battle this season after seeing Haas close in on fourth in the constructors’ championship in recent weeks.
Haas was 37 points adrift of Renault following the Canadian Grand Prix, having missed a number of opportunities to score significant points this year. McLaren was the closest challenger at the time but has since faded, while Haas picked up 32 points during the triple-header of races to move into fifth overall, just 19 points behind Renault.
“The midfield fight is becoming tighter and it’s not a comfortable situation to be in,” Renault’s chief technical officer Bob Bell says. “It will ebb and flow throughout the season. There will be some circuits where we’ll be stronger and at some our rivals will be stronger. We have to keep our focus and not get distracted by the result of an individual race, looking instead at longer-term trends.
“It’s vital for us to regain the initiative in the midfield battle. We let that slip in Austria but showed our fighting spirit in Silverstone, so it’s important we come out from Hockenheim in good shape. The circuit should suit us a little better than the last two rounds.
“As we’ve seen at most races this year, it will be a story of how we manage the tires. It was a slightly different choice [at Silverstone] with Pirelli’s medium, soft and ultrasoft, skipping the supersoft tire. Managing the tires in Hockenheim will be a challenge as there’s a lot of low-speed traction events, and therefore rear tire thermal management will be an issue. As we find with every race, how we manage the tires will play a central role in our performance.”
Renault will introduce some more updates in Germany that will include a new front wing, and managing director Cyril Abiteboul says a step forward in performance is needed given the threat his team has seen from the likes of Haas, Force India and even Sauber in recent races.
“The German Grand Prix arrives after Formula 1’s first triple-header, which, for us, proved to be a challenge and a test of our capabilities and stamina,” Abiteboul said. “We’ve completed this busy period still in fourth place in the Constructors’ Championship, but this position doesn’t highlight the mid-season wake-up call we’ve received in recent races; we’re fully aware that the fight for fourth place will not be easy and will continue throughout the second half of the season.”