Renault Chassis Technical Director Nick Chester believes the manufacturer's collaboration between its facilities at Enstone and Viry-Châtillon gives it an advantage over its customer teams.
Since returning to Formula 1 in 2016, Renault has split its operations between its two factories, with Enstone focusing on the chassis, and Viry-Châtillon working on the power unit.
When asked about the relationship between the two sites, Chester said: “It’s quite nice because we’re working together all the time.
“Viry know what we’re trying to achieve with an overall car concept of whether you’re going to make it smaller, lighter, better-packaged, and we know what Viry needs to make a good power unit in terms of all the fluid temperatures and pressure drops and everything we need to supply the engine with.
“We tend to work together and we know each other’s sensibilities, and between us we start packaging the back of the chassis and power unit.”
Renault will continue to supply Red Bull in 2018 and has taken on a new customer in McLaren, which has switched to the manufacturer following three years of woe with Honda.
However, Chester reckons Renault’s ability to oversee both sites gives it “a bit of an advantage” over its customers.
“You get to take the power unit and the chassis down a single philosophy,” he commented.
“If you’re a customer team, you haven’t got that luxury.”
Renault leapt from ninth to sixth last season and frequently had the fourth-fastest car, as it continued to show on-track developments, complemented by off-track progress, with workforce expansion ongoing, up from 450 people to around 700.
Chester, though, has stressed that Renault has set no definitive target for the upcoming campaign, other than to continue on its upward trajectory.
“There isn’t a target, a fixed target,” he outlined.
“What we want to show is that we are progressing.
“So we were competitive at the end of last year and we want to improve from there but there isn’t a fixed target on the championship position.”