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Renault already pushing 'over the red line' ahead of crucial season

  • Published on 13 Feb 2019 09:19
  • comments 0
  • By: Harry Mattocks

Renault returned to Formula 1 in 2016, and it did so with a six-year plan with the end goal being to put Renault back at the front of the grid. They have now completed the first three years of this plan, which was to rebuild the factory in Enstone that had been suffering from a lack of funding for many years.

Now that they are in the second half of this plan, the goal is to make a return to the top end of the grid. The team managed to finish in fourth place last season, which is 'best of the rest' behind Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull.

"We have finished the reconstruction and we are going to the next phase," technical boss Marcin Budkowski said. "We are in line with that and we were very humble in the first three years because there were a lot of things to do to bring this team back from the brink of collapsing.

"In terms of the general road map, I think we are in line with that plan -- the infrastructure is there and we have brought people in line to do a good job. But whether it is at 100 percent of its capacity, well, no there are still things that are coming on line and people being recruited, but we have what it takes in terms of infrastructure and headcount to do the job.

"But in order to play with the big three we need to improve everywhere."

The pressure is also mounting at the factory, where at the launch event on Tuesday, team boss Cyril Abiteboul admitted that the actual car was still in bits around the factory.

"As we speak we are 100% sure of nothing. There will be two drivers, I will be there if you want to have a chat or a coffee! We should have the motorhome and the coffee machine working but that's as far as I'm 100% sure!"

"We know that there is a direct connection between the time you're spending in the wind tunnel and how competitive you are," Abiteboul added. "So we know that there is a direct connection between how short you can reduce your lead time and your competitiveness. So that is the sort of thing that we need to do. We need to be constantly flirting with the red line.

"I think we've maybe gone a bit over the red line, that's why really my thoughts are already with production who are massively working to get the parts out of the door for us to be ready and testing as we speak. I think next year we will have to be a bit more conservative because it's not just performance, it's also reliability.

"You don't want to turn up and have to shakedown your car and suddenly realize that there is something that is not working. So it's a balancing exercise, we've been a step too far, maybe we'll have to review it for next year."

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AT Grand Prix of Austria

Local time 

  • Fridayweather-image

  • Free practice 1

    11:00 - 12:30

    Free practice 2

    15:00 - 16:30

  • Saturdayweather-image

  • Free practice 3

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    Qualifying

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