(Bernard Asset - Renault Sport F1)
Renault Sport F1 Head of Track Operations Remi Taffin believes the French engine manufacturer are making progress as they head to this weekend's Chinese Grand Prix at the Shanghai International Circuit.
Red Bull Racing were the front running Renault powered team last time out in Bahrain where Daniel Ricciardo produced the stand out performance of the race as he made his way from 13th on the grid to finish the race in 4th place ahead of reigning world champion and team mate Sebastian Vettel.
Speaking ahead of the Chinese Grand Prix, Taffin said:
'We’re feeling more confident ahead of the Chinese Grand Prix. While we know that the others are still ahead, we have made some good progress in the last two races, both in reliability and driveability, particularly in race modes.
Likewise we have been working on the energy management per lap, particularly in the slow corners. We know we are missing out on the straights but these new steps have given us greater traction in the turns, which should in turn extend tyre life and give greater flexibility on strategies. In fact the greater part of our work has been concentrated on race modes and performance as this is where we believe the bigger steps can be taken, rather than in qualifying.
All of these improvements should put us a bit closer to the front in China. Of the first four races, it is one of the most difficult. The long straight is of course the major feature of the circuit, but we believe the steps taken in testing will make us less vulnerable.
There are also some tricky mid to slow speed corners in Shanghai such as the first ‘snail’ corner that tightens back on itself. This and the two hairpins give some opportunity for the MGU-K to recover energy under braking but the focus for energy recovery will be on the MGU-H and that long straight.
Overall we’re looking forward to China – while we know it’s still an uphill battle, we feel we have hit our stride now.'
So far this season, the Renault powered team's have struggled scoring a combined total of 42 point's over the course of the first three Grand Prix. Red Bull Racing have scored 35 of those point's.
Renault will be hoping that their partner team's will be able to increase that tally this weekend in China after all last season Renault powered team's scored 38 point's, three more then Red Bull Racing's current tally for this season so far.
The Lotus F1 Team are just one of the Renault powered squad's have yet to score a point this season and this is something that the Enstone based outfit will want to change this weekend.
©Ben Johnston 2014