While their most recent campaign was enough for a fourth place finish in the Constructors’ Championship, getting on the podium and challenging F1’s big three is a completely different, and very difficult, story.
According to Renault itself, things are looking good for the French outfit, with managing director Cyril Abiteboul telling Autosport that he sees “an acceleration everywhere”, referring to the team’s winter development progress.
“The gains that we will be making on the engine are much bigger than we have ever done in a winter – much bigger – and the gains that we are currently doing in the wind tunnel are much bigger than we have ever done.”
“But, we have to be careful on the wind tunnel side, the aero side, as there is a change of regulation [concerning mostly the front wings]. You know that when it happens there is a big reset: you lose [downforce] and you quickly catch up.”
“So, it is difficult to make a distinction between what is coming from the regulations and what is coming from the effect of the restructure. But if I look at our capacity to engineer, to develop, design and manufacture, it is an acceleration everywhere.”
At this point, it’s impossible to know how Renault is doing in comparison to their rivals, but the fact that they’re more efficient than ever in developing the new car should at least put them in a better position than last year.
“The car we have been operating [in 2018] is more or less a representation of where the team was 18 months ago,” added the Renault exec.
Renault finished the 2018 Formula 1 season 29 points clear of fifth-place Haas, but a massive 297 points behind third-place Red Bull Racing. This upcoming season, their driver line-up consists of Nico Hulkenberg and Daniel Ricciardo, two drivers that have already shown they can challenge for the top if they are given a good car.