Renault is aiming to cure its lack of race pace with a new front wing which it will introduce at the Russian Grand Prix this weekend.
Although the team has made a major step forward with its qualifying performance in 2017 its drivers have consistently struggled to finish as high as they start so far this year.
“It’s pretty clear and we’re not under any illusion, we are currently qualifying better than we race and that’s a symptom of our current car performance,” said the team’s chief technical officer Bob Bell.
“We have a reasonable understanding of why this is and have a number of developments to address this in the realm of aerodynamics and suspension. We tested new parts – including a new front wing – in Bahrain designed to add more aero-performance to the car and also make it slightly more benign to engender better race pace.”
Bell said the RS17 is “not as well balanced as we’d like over a full stint” which explains the problems the team have been having. “You can get away with this over the course of a qualifying lap, where fresh tyres can mask the balance issue, [but] the performance is less consistent when you take to the longer runs of race stints.”
“The RS17 has a somewhat nervous corner entry, followed by mid-turn understeer, followed by a nervous exit making finding traction a challenge. If we can address these areas, our drivers will have a very effective race car at their disposal.”
“We believe the problems are aero related, so we’re primarily looking for the solution there. Once we have the entry-phase of the corner sorted, the rest should follow more easily.”
Bell described the team’s qualifying performance as a “big positive” for them. “If you have the pace the key is maintaining it; it’s easier to translate qualifying pace to race pace than to find basic performance.”
Sergey Sirotkin, who tested for the team in Bahrain, will drive in FP1 on Friday in Nico Hulkenberg’s car. It will be the F2 driver’s fourth practice appearance in F1 and his third in Russia.
2017 Russian Grand Prix
- Sepang pays Haas compensation for Grosjean’s 2017 crash
- F1 better without “artificial” overtaking – Vettel
- Honda unreliability “completely unacceptable” – Alonso
- Maiden victory earn Bottas first Driver of the Weekend win since 2014
- 2017 Russian Grand Prix team radio transcript
21 comments on “Renault bringing new front wing to address race pace deficit”
OmarRoncal - Go Seb!!! (@)
25th April 2017, 14:58
Sirotkin has a go in FP1 in Russia –> more cash –> new wing.
It all makes sense.
Michael Brown (@)
25th April 2017, 15:01
I read that as “more crash – new wing”
25th April 2017, 16:10
For Palmer indeed as he would need it the most.
25th April 2017, 16:25
Hulkenberg will still find a way to be a second quicker than Palmer in FP1 and FP2, even with Sirotkin driving instead of him.
25th April 2017, 16:44
You got that wrong. Palmer will find a way to be a second slower, etc etc
25th April 2017, 18:23
@hugh11, I think you must mean FP2 and FP3, because it will be somewhat difficult for Hulkenberg to set a time in FP1 is Sirotkin is going to be driving his car in that session…
Jordi Casademunt (@casjo)
25th April 2017, 18:46
That’s the joke.
25th April 2017, 20:30
25th April 2017, 16:43
The biggest performance they can make is to get a decent teammate alongside Hulkenberg. I can’t understand why a factory team with manufacturer money retained Palmer for this year?
25th April 2017, 17:55
They retained him because they are poorly managed. From my point of view one of the better managers left when Vasseur made an exit a few months ago.
25th April 2017, 18:47
@offdutyrockstar, the thing is, Renault did make a serious effort to try and get rid of Palmer in 2016. The problem is that most drivers on the grid already had long term contracts with their existing teams, and all of those teams made it clear that they would not let them drive for Renault.
Red Bull refused to enter into any negotiations over any of the drivers at either Red Bull Racing or Toro Rosso, putting paid to their attempts to sign Sainz Jr. They tried to sign either Ocon or Perez, but Force India rejected their offers; as for Bottas, we know that Mercedes moved in there to sign him as soon as they knew Rosberg was leaving.
As for Magnussen, he made it clear that he had no interest in a one year deal – a clear sign that they only wanted him as a stop gap driver – and he walked out the door to Haas.
It was only at that point that they turned to Palmer – he was, at best, sixth on their list, and seems only to have been kept because nobody else wanted him. It’s all well and good to say that they should have signed somebody else, but if the other teams simply refuse to let you break their contract with their drivers, there’s nothing you can do about it.
25th April 2017, 19:00
Well said. Signing Hulkenburg is a clear indication that Renault isn’t mismanaged and genuinely want to compete in F1. Palmer is a liability they couldn’t get rid of but that doesn’t mean Renault isn’t serious. In fact, I will bet that if mid-season any new promising driver becomes available (*cough* Alonso *cough*), Palmer would be first to go
25th April 2017, 21:52
As you say @sprint9, lack of proper management is also the reason Perez declined, and as anon explains @offdutyrockstar, I think that Palmer is the result of lack of trust in how well Renault can, and will progress.
With the admittedly good Saturday pace Hulkenberg has shown, and if indeed they can show they are on top of fixing their race pace a bit, it will show Enstone is still a solid team and I think next year they will have a lot more interest (Alonso?).
26th April 2017, 11:08
Great insight thanks, I don’t remember hearing many stories about them aggressively pursuing top talent aside from the Hulk whom I do rate. I personally think Alonso is a shoe in for a 2018 seat with them and that they already look very promising after the first 3 races of this year. Let’s see where they fall in the competitive order after this PU upgrade. Enstone certainly has the pedigree to compete at the sharp end of the grid, they just havent had the funding until recently.
25th April 2017, 16:55
Why does Sirotkin get Hulk’s car? Under normal circumstances the disadvantage should be shared equally but given the difference in performance Renault should just put the test drivers in their No.2 car.
25th April 2017, 20:09
“The RS17 has a somewhat nervous corner entry, followed by mid-turn understeer, followed by a nervous exit making finding traction a challenge.” – basically that means they are bad @ cornering…
25th April 2017, 23:38
Not outright. It points to a car that has difficulty (read: nervous/snappy behaviour during combined throttle/brake and steering inputs) with load shifts, but has benign behaviour when following through on a corner (though with too much understeer when settled into the corner).
This could be related to the center of pressure (drag) being further forward than the center of downforce, or one or both centers are not stable throught turn in and turn out phases. The car would act suddenly oversteery and than back to understeer, making it hard to retain speed through a corner when grip levels are low (tyres start to decline, or need to be managed).
26th April 2017, 11:06
Yeah, i get that. Nevertheless aerodynamic imbalance while changing direction & loads (cornering) translates to bad @ cornering to me (relative to what they want). It just reminded me of ronspeak…
26th April 2017, 12:25
Everyone’s an engineering pundit, aren’t they – Noddy does aero…
25th April 2017, 21:57
If they have Palmer driving it doesn’t matter how many updates they give.
I find Jolyon to be a decent chap, but yeah he’s slow.
26th April 2017, 11:17
He’s like the Van Wilder of GP2, it took him 4 years to win the championship!
Comments are closed.