Nico Hulkenberg, Renault, Bahrain International Circuit, 2017

Renault’s aero upgrade will address race pace weakness

2017 F1 seasonPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Renault believe the new aerodynamic parts test in Bahrain this week will improve their race pace, which hasn’t been able to match their qualifying performance so far.

Nico Hulkenberg qualified seventh for the last two rounds but slipped back in both races. He and team mate Jolyon Palmer have not finished higher than they started in any of the three grands prix so far.

Sergey Sirotkin, Renault, Bahrain International Circuit, 2017
Bahrain test day two in pictures
Hulkenberg said he “really wrestled” with the car in Sunday’s Bahrain Grand Prix and “two points were the best we could do on the strategy we ran.”

“We are a lot better in qualifying,” he admitted, “but over the 57 laps of the race we exposed some of the areas where we need to improve.”

The team’s new driver for 2017 had pinned his hopes on aerodynamic updates for the RS17 which he ran during Tuesday’s test. Sporting director Alan Permane said the results of the test were positive.

“We’re very happy with the new aero parts we tried as they bring a tangible benefit to the R.S.17 in terms of general pace and, in particular, race pace,” he said.

Test driver Sergey Sirotkin was impressed by his first run in a 2017-specification Formula One car yesterday.

“It was great to be out in action as I’ve been waiting for this day a very long time,” he said. “I enjoyed every second of being in the car, even if the programme was not the most exciting for the driver.”

“The car is amazingly quick and I noticed the difference in grip immediately from the previous generation. That said, you soon get used to the extra speed. I can’t wait to get to Sochi.”

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18 comments on “Renault’s aero upgrade will address race pace weakness”

  1. I certainly hope that this means they will be able to fight to at least not drop back during the races. I want to see Hulkenberg fighting in the midfield.

  2. If Force India and Renault improve, it will be an interesting dispute between Massa/Hulkenberg/Perez.

    1. Don’t rule out Ocon, he certainly is in another category than Stroll/Palmer.

      1. I reckon Ocon has good potential to be a long term F1 driver. Maybe not world champion level but he’s showing signs of solid consistency which is invaluable for midfield teams.

        1. nelson piquet
          20th April 2017, 21:40

          he beat verstappen in f3 tho

        2. F Truth (@offdutyrockstar)
          24th April 2017, 12:18

          Ocon was one of the drivers hailed as the next big thing. If Verstappen is the new generation’s Hamilton (good in the wet, elbows out racer, known for overtaking ability) then Ocon could certainly be the next Vettel or Rosberg, as mentioned he beat Verstappen in a straight fight in F3!

          But some of those hypes newcomers havent really panned out, Magnussen and Vandoorne for example havent really shown anything very special.

      2. Maybe next season Ocon would match Perez level. Right now I don’t think so.

    2. If Haas and Toro Rosso can be there, you can be sure to add Grosjean and Sainz too aswell

  3. It’s not like the Enstone team has produced a good aero package for the past 3 seasons. I hope they’ll get better and the top teams don’t improve too much.

    1. The tusk was pretty cool, to look at at least

    2. Probably an element of funding and resource rather than competence! Interesting to see how fast the upgrades come through in 2017 and what they bring to the car, coupled with the obvious engine improvements.

    3. I don’t think you can even say that they really produced any package last season though. They just took the already far from stellar 2015 car and adjusted it to take a Renault engine instead of a Mercedes @peartree.

      I do think that they still need more investment into facilities and good people to operate everything to get there. But if they at least manage to be a real fighter in the (lower) mid field this year (not helped by Palmer in the second car it seems) I think that would be a hopefull sign that they are at least improving their game.

  4. Hopefully this is true… Need to see Hulkenberg able to fight for 7th in the race, not just in qualifying.

  5. Very promising if there is still an aero update to come!
    Can´t remember Magnussen or Palmer fighting for P7-9 often last year!

    1. nelson piquet
      20th April 2017, 21:42

      they were pretty much using the 2015 lotus with the 2016 engine

  6. I hope the new parts will work nicely with the car. Nico deserves to fight in the midfield

  7. Neil (@neilosjames)
    20th April 2017, 23:30

    Feeling really positive about the future for Renault. They wouldn’t have come back if they didn’t have real aspirations to become front-runners again, and the departure of Vasseur aside things seem to be moving in the right direction.

    Maybe I’m being overly optimistic, but we could have another ‘top team’ by 2019.

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