Renault managing director Cyril Abiteboul says his team needs to show progress in terms of car development that matches its big moves in the driver market this summer.
Having acquired Carlos Sainz on a season-long loan from Red Bull, Renault was set to replace the Spaniard with Esteban Ocon in 2019 before Daniel Ricciardo opted to accept its offer and make the shock switch from Red Bull next year. With a proven race winner alongside Nico Hulkenberg next season, Abiteboul says the team needs to be similarly aggressive in chasing car performance throughout the rest of 2018.
“It’s good to get back to track action after a well-needed rest for many during the summer shutdown,” Abiteboul said. “The break provided us with the opportunity to recharge the batteries, reflect on the first part of the season, and prepare for the many challenges ahead of us until Abu Dhabi, in order to defend our current position in the constructors’ championship and allow Nico and Carlos to strengthen their places in the standings.
“Most of our resources are now focused in preparing for 2019, which is another important step in the team’s progress. Before that, we have to keep bringing developments to this year’s package to find gains wherever possible.
“We are pushing on with aero developments, and will bring some concepts at upcoming races onto the R.S.18 that are ultimately destined for next year’s car. We’ve been offensive and decisive in the driver market and now we have to do the same on both chassis and engine development.”
Despite the optimistic outlook, Abiteboul admits the upcoming races in Spa and Monza — circuits that both place emphasis on power unit performance — will not play to Renault’s strengths as it looks to defend fourth place in the constructors’ championship.
“Spa-Francorchamps is a challenging circuit, as is Monza where we’ll heading right after, meaning we’ll have a realistic approach given our competitiveness on these types of tracks. But we must be ready to seize any opportunity which might arise from the many unforeseen challenges we have seen in the past in the history of this legendary Grand Prix.”
As part of its ongoing car development, Renault will have a new floor at next weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix, as well as additional bodywork upgrades.