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Renault's Italy preview

NEWS STORY
30/08/2017

Cyril Abiteboul, Renault Sport Racing Managing Director: The Italian Grand Prix caps the end of the European segment of the Formula 1 calendar as we begin to switch our attention to Asia in the early autumn months.

Monza is a legendary circuit with an electric atmosphere to match and it seems to be a fitting way to end what has been an exciting summer of racing on some of Europe's finest circuits.

Previous to Monza, we enjoyed a successful weekend in Belgium and made a return to the points courtesy of Nico's sixth place; his third of the season. Nico had a really strong and sensible race and did a lot right to get the team a number of points.

We are, however, left with a taste of frustration as we couldn't put Jolyon into the top ten. He had the pace in qualifying to be on course for a career best grid position but a gearbox issue forced him to start from fourteenth which meant Sunday would be difficult. We once again saw the Red Bull of Daniel Ricciardo on the podium for the sixth time this season which has included a win. The retirement of Max Verstappen and the enormous disappointment that followed lead us to react as early as Monza and the introduction of new components to improve reliability.

But remaining on the positives and we have scored more points at the last three Grands Prix than the four teams above us in the Constructors' Championship. We have managed 16 points since Great Britain in July with Force India on (14), Haas (6), Toro Rosso (7) and Williams (5). The latest updates have all worked as they should to help us increase performance and put us in the top ten on a regular basis.

Monza is one of the most demanding races on the engine due to its frequent and prolonged high speed straights and curves; it really is the Temple of Speed! We have to approach the weekend with a sense of caution as we know the remaining races after this weekend should be more favourable for us. It will be about seeing how we go about this to get the most out of the car. Our aim remains to get both cars in the points to keep gaining ground on the teams above us.

It will be an exciting weekend for everyone involved in Italy; the fans, the drivers and all the racing staff. We head there with momentum on our side and we look forward to getting out to Monza.

Technical Officer Bob Bell explains the balance between 2018 and 2017 car development as the R.S.17 heads for its thirteenth outing of the season in Italy.

What's the outlook for Monza?
Bob Bell: Monza is a high-speed, low downforce track, the lowest we run on throughout the season. We can go there with a reasonable amount of confidence having shown in Spa, a high power track, that we can compete. We have a couple of new aero refinements with the aerodynamics packages and wing settings tailored for the low downforce demands with a low-downforce and minimal drag optimised package.

How do you sum up the performances in recent weeks?
BB: We can take heart with the step forward we have made across Britain, Hungary and Spa and I think it bodes well for the rest of the season. There aren't too many surprises left with the circuits we're going to and we have the capacity to keep development going for the rest of the year. We just have to get both drivers home scoring points.

Have we discovered the problem with Jolyon's gearbox?
BB: Everything points to it being a one-off as opposed to anything endemic. We will address it for Monza and ensure it doesn't occur again. Reliability is still a priority and we must ensure that Monza is a trouble free weekend. Pace is where we hoped it would be at this point in the season but reliability still needs to improve.

It was disappointing for Jolyon. His pace at the start of the weekend was a great confidence boost for him and I'm sure had he not had that problem he would have qualified seventh or eighth on the grid.

We're closing in on the final stretch of the calendar, is there much to report with development?
BB: We are already working on the 2018 car but some elements developed in the wind tunnel can be used on the R.S.17. We are continuing the development of this year's car. We have the capability to do a good job in balancing the development of the 2018 car and transferring the concepts onto this year's, so it's a busy time in Enstone!

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