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Renault's Belgium preview

NEWS STORY
22/08/2017

Cyril Abiteboul, Renault Sport Racing Managing Director: The Belgian Grand Prix marks the beginning of the home stretch of the season and it's vital that we hit the ground running by making a return to the points.

Hungary could have been a very strong weekend for us but the results failed to materialise. This was frustrating given we proved throughout the weekend in Budapest that we had the pace to be competitive and be in contention for a good haul of points from both drivers.

This highlighted the progress we have made in 2017. We have proved, on a number of occasions, that we have the ability to comfortably run inside the top ten and have shown we are well in the mix to be the best of the rest behind the top three teams. Weekends such as China, Bahrain, Spain and Great Britain showed what we are capable of doing, and there are nine more races to really underline our progression and make a mark.

These improvements have been down to the hard work being put in at Enstone and Viry, by our passionate workforce.

We are focusing on the areas needing attention, and making the necessary improvements and changes.

Clear steps are being made and we are heading in the right direction in terms of pace and reliability. The summer break came at a welcome time as we had the opportunity to reflect on these past few months and take a recharging period.

It would be impossible not to mention Robert Kubica's test outing in the R.S.17 at the Hungaroring test, which was a very productive day from all involved. Robert's journey back to an official Formula 1 test session is an incredible story and he delivered well on the day. He followed Test Driver Nicholas Latifi at the test, with both drivers contributing to our development of the car. Both Nico and Jolyon should benefit from the progress made at the test when they hit the track at Spa.

We are excited to get out to Belgium and restart the season on a bright note, but in order to do that we need to stay focused and work hard together as a team. Finishing the season in fifth is our objective, but it will take resilience and determination from everyone at Renault Sport Formula One Team.

Engine Technical Director Remi Taffin explains how there is more to come from the R.E.17 and what can be expected from Spa; a circuit which demands high power output.

What can we expect from Spa?
Remi Taffin: We have the potential for a good result. Over the last few races our cars have been performing well and I can't see any reason why Spa can't continue that trend. Spa has high speed corners as well as a few straights which can be a real test. We have to deal with the challenging section between La Source through to Les Combes. Drivers are full throttle for almost 2km and encounter the notorious Eau Rouge which will be fully loaded in this year's cars with a lateral force of -3g. Spa will be strenuous on the power unit given around 67% of the lap is spent at full throttle. But we have drivers driving well, a chassis that is performing well and an engine which is on track; it's all pointing in the right direction.

How is performance looking?
RT: We know we're not the fastest on the grid, but as a team we are showing we are the force after the top three. Qualifying pace has looked good with Great Britain and Hungary exemplifying our ability to be the fourth best team. It's just a case of building on that and bettering the race pace.

That comes from levelling up everything, we need to show off reliability and mileage and that is something we are giving close attention. We are on a good trend and we will keep adding performance in terms of both aerodynamics and engine so hopefully this can be seen in the upcoming races.

What have we got planned for the remainder of the season?
RT: Spa and Monza will see new software and hardware updates. We are looking at Monza as a benchmark as it could provide a clear picture of the ranking of the engines. Being in the top ten will be a good result as these next two circuits are power-hungry. After Monza, we have more races and more things in the pipeline, the next two months will be important for the 2017 season outcome.

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