Renault considering ‘qualifying’ car for 2020

Jamie Woodhouse
Daniel Ricciardo Nico Hulkenberg

Daniel Ricciardo (left) and Nico Hulkenberg when they were Renault team-mates

Renault have confirmed they may gear their 2020 challenger heavily towards qualifying pace in a bid to move up the order.

The French manufacturer were hoping to build on their best-of-the-rest P4 finish in the 2018 Constructors’ Championship, but that hasn’t gone to plan with the team currently P8 in the 2019 standings.

The R.S.19 has shown glimpses of promise, but team principal Cyril Abiteboul says the team are considering putting their efforts into one-lap pace with the 2020 edition, rather than prioritising long-run performance.

“I think we are looking at two or three changes that are totally possible to do at this point of time, and that can dramatically change the behaviour and the competitiveness of the car next year,” Abiteboul told Autosport.

“The first is aero efficiency, and the second is how you balance qualifying and the race, because in modern F1 it is all about qualifying.

“All tracks are almost like Monaco now, and there is a different pattern of development of the car if you want to focus on qualifying or focus on the race.

“It can be things like you how you are setting up your gear ratio. If you want to prioritise qualifying over the race you change your gear ratio.

“They are fixed in the regulations and that it is not something we can change for this year, but it is completely open for next year.

“Then, the last point, is the rake of the car.

“There is still time. It is not too late to change a number of parameters on the car.

“It is not a bad car, but that can be improved, so next year is a step from this year.”

Although they are concentrating on this and next season, Abiteboul says Renault have one eye on 2021 as the point where they can move forward under the widespread changes penciled in for that year.

“Will it be a step to fight for podiums or wins on a straightforward basis?” he said about their 2020 chances.

“No, because we know F1. And frankly our best bet is to work on 2021.

“That is why there will be a balanced effort of what we do for 2020 because we want to start now and we will be starting now on 2021 development.”

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