Renault have made changes to their quality control procedures in an attempt to improve reliability in the closing stages of the 2020 season.
The Enstone team are locked in a fierce three-way battle with McLaren and Racing Point for P3 in the Constructors’ Championship and just one point separates the trio with just four rounds remaining.
With two podium finishes in three races for Daniel Ricciardo, it appears all is looking rather rosy for Renault but Esteban Ocon’s side of the garage is showing not everything is funky-dory heading into the business end of the 2020 campaign.
The Renault car has broken down five times this season with numerous defects and three of those retirements have come in Ocon’s last five races.
With every point extremely valuable, Renault cannot afford to let reliability issues within their own team ultimately deny them the chance to finish first behind Mercedes and Red Bull.
“We are not happy with it,” Renault’s chief technical officer Marcin Budkowski told Auto Motor und Sport.
“In the last years we were always pretty reliable. But when you start going to the limit, you pay a price for it somewhere.
“That just shows that our processes are not good enough and that we still don’t have enough strength in our organisation.
“That’s why we made some changes last week to change our approach to quality control and make sure that at least the problems we’ve had don’t recur.
“But the devil is in the problems you don’t know about yet. That can make the difference in the battle between 3rd and 6th place.
“The cars will not improve dramatically in the last four races. What matters now is reliability, the drivers, the procedures on the track.”
— Renault F1 Team (@RenaultF1Team) November 2, 2020
Budkowski confirmed there are no new major upgrades coming to the R.S.20 this year and that the team’s main attention from a development perspective is on the 2021 challenger.
He said: “Sochi was the last step. There are still some small parts in the production loop, but the work is now fully concentrated on the 2021 car.
“It will be more difficult to determine next year what the jump-off is for the 2022 car.
“For 2021 the homologation limits us. Most of the parts will be adopted. So you have less freedom.
“On the other hand, the FIA has adapted the rules for the underbody and the rear of the car. The loss of downforce would be significant if you don’t take countermeasures. This requires quite a lot of development for 2021.”
Reliability concerns aside, Budkowski feels Renault now has a car that can perform well at every circuit.