Nico Rosberg has pinpointed where he believes Renault have made the improvement which has established them as F1’s current team to beat outside the top two.
Renault are the emerging force away from Mercedes and Red Bull who have dominated the 2020 campaign so far – and they were back on the podium for the first time since 2011 when Daniel Ricciardo finished third in the Eifel Grand Prix.
Now another P3 is in the sights of the famous French manufacturer – namely that position in the constructors’ World Championship, for they have closed the gap to just six points behind Racing Point who currently hold that placing.
McLaren are currently sandwiched in between that duo, two ahead of fifth-placed Renault.
Working as a pundit for Sky at the Nurburgring, Rosberg offered some inside information on why he thought Renault had progressed through the midfield over the course of the season.
“I’ve heard from Renault that they have made a breakthrough in the wind tunnel, in the rear on the diffuser,” said the 2016 World Champion, quoted by Motorsport-total.com.
“Aerodynamically, more is now possible for the team. They have made great strides and improved their grip significantly.
“Of course, Dani drives really well and [Esteban] Ocon is getting closer and closer in qualifying. They are really close now. Renault are really on the way forward at the moment.”
In terms of their own perspective on the progress they are making, Ricciardo believes that simply being more consistent from race to race has helped significantly.
“From the start of the year, it’s been a new car from last year in terms of it being a lot better,” said the Australian.
“The rear of the car has picked up a lot of downforce, so that’s given us drivers confidence to nail the throttle and get off the corners better.
“It was around Silverstone, I think, we had a few updates and that really just felt like we were able to basically find a bit more ease in setting the car up and it wasn’t so hit-or-miss.
“Last year I felt we, at times, could be very fast or well outside the top 10. I think now we are just able to sit in that sweet spot and obviously the performance is there.
“It’s proven now – we’ve done it on low downforce and high downforce circuits. So I think it’s a good package and we should have confidence now for the remainder of the season.”