Disappointed Renault accepts work needed to clear F1 midfield

Renault has accepted that it has work to do if it is to realise its ambition of clearing Formula 1’s midfield and close on the leading three teams.

Renault has steadily improved year-on-year since its return as a works team in 2016 and last season finished in fourth position in the Constructors’ Championship.

It targeted closing on the top three teams this year but failed to make it through to Q3 in Australia and finished behind Haas in the race, with Nico Hulkenberg lapped by victor Valtteri Bottas.

“In seasons gone by, we would have been satisfied with a seventh-place finish at the first race of the season, but this year we were a little disappointed,” said team boss Cyril Abiteboul.

“We feel our car is capable of fighting at the top end of the midfield, however, that wasn’t always displayed when it really counted in qualifying and during the race.

“We are determined to show more in Bahrain.

“We have to underline the step we’ve made on the engine side, and the second Grand Prix of 2019 is an opportunity to showcase that.

“We will bring some aero updates, as we will do at every race.

“We also need to target consistency over the course of the entire weekend, delivering a balanced and reliable car in all sessions to allow the drivers to extract respective maximum performance.

“Equally, we need to target operational excellence in all areas.

“Having both cars inside the points is the target and we want to show the qualities of our team.”

Renault technical chief Nick Chester added: “We tested some new parts, played around with different setups and learnt a decent amount [in Australia].

“It’s quite clear, though, we have some work to do to move away from the midfield, which is where we want to be.”