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Renault "disappointed" not to be closer to 'Big Three'

NEWS STORY
20/04/2018

While Nico Hulkenberg has consistently qualified 'best of the rest', and is currently joint-sixth in the driver standings ahead of Max Verstappen, Renault is fifth in the team standings behind two of the customer teams it supplies, Red Bull and McLaren. Furthermore, the works outfit is regularly over a second off the pace of the Red Bull.

Technical director Bob Bell admits his, and the team's, disappointment.

"I would say we are disappointed we are not further up," he said, according to ESPN. "We had hoped to take a bit more lap time out of the top three teams over the winter and we haven't. If anything they might have moved further ahead, so we are a little bit disappointed about that.

"I think we are reasonably pleased with how we have positioned ourselves to McLaren, which we were very worried about when they came on board with the engine," he continued, "but clearly Toro Rosso and Haas have done a great job over the winter and are making life very difficult for us.

"It's going to be nip and tuck with them all season," he admits, "and McLaren are going to develop... McLaren are very good at developing to recover any losses from the start. It's going to be really close fought. We had hoped to be a little bit further ahead at the start but this isn't an exact science and we know we can do a good development job in season."

Now in its third season since its return as a constructor, Bell refuses to lay the blame on the fact the French outfit is playing 'catch-up' with its rivals in terms of resources and headcount.

"We didn't do a good enough job," he admits. "We weren't as smart as they were over the winter in designing and developing the car. We are still growing, we are still developing, we are still getting our methodologies right and we are still recruiting people and building facilities. I don't want to keep singing that song as an excuse but we are not quite as mature as the top three teams are and they have still got the edge when it comes to building a new car.

"I don't know if we could halve the gap," he adds looking ahead, "but I think there is a reasonable chance we can start to close it because there is a law of diminishing returns."

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