Renault was able to show the gains it has made with its power unit over the winter in Canada and demonstrated it has hit its targets, according to engine technical director Remi Taffin.
Daniel Ricciardo qualified fourth in Montreal and finished sixth, one place ahead of teammate Nico Hulkenberg as Renault moved up to fifth in the constructors’ championship. Following an impressive weekend, Taffin says the result proves how much progress has been made since the end of last season on the power unit front.
“We knew we had the performance in the engine right from testing and race one,” Taffin said. “Overall, we had a good winter, conducted a lot of work on that front, but we were caught by two incidents in the first two races. We showed our ability to react to that. We introduced upgrades in Barcelona, counter-measures to our problems, and from there showed we could firstly, be reliable, and secondly, show the performance of our power unit.
“We have a good baseline but we know there’s a lot more to do and more is still to come. We could say in Montreal we were satisfied because we were where we targeted to be, at the front of the midfield.”
Renault is bringing a number of new chassis-related parts to the French Grand Prix this weekend, and Taffin said the focus will be on ensuring the result in Canada is not a one-off.
“Montreal is an engine-sensitive, high-powered track and it was pleasing to see good performance from the car,” he said. “For the first time this season, we were able to see our whole package performing throughout the entire weekend.
“What counts is doing it again and we have a great opportunity in France, our home race, to repeat that and deliver to the same level. We clearly have engaged with our season now, but we have more hard work to get through. We want to take fourth place back and move clearly ahead of the rest.
“From an engine perspective, the demands are close to those of Montreal, however, at Paul Ricard there are more medium to high-speed corners. That’s something to take into account when setting up the car.
“We demonstrated in Montreal the package can deal with long straights and big braking zones. The target on the power unit is to run as much as possible and be reliable to allow the team to evaluate the chassis upgrades we will bring.”