Cyril Abiteboul, Renault Sport Racing Managing Director: The Monaco Grand Prix is always a test for teams, chassis and engines, both in performance and in reliability. We left there with mixed feelings. We got both drivers to the finish to score double points - it was a welcome return to the top ten for Nico after two tough races, while Carlos maintained his run. In fact, only he, Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel have scored in the last four events.
However, we also exposed some of our weaknesses. We know we have to work on tyre management and optimising qualifying to provide our drivers with less challenging circumstances for them to perform at their best. These finer points are now the focus; by and large we are performing well, but these details can make the difference between scoring points and finishing just outside.
We therefore look forward to Canada with optimism; we have the next stage of our power unit development scheduled and a number of aero and mechanical upgrades. Canada is a tough race, but we need to pull together to make the most of every opportunity.
After the team's third double-points finish of the season in Monaco, focus immediately switches to Montreal, a track which places emphasis on power, balancing downforce and heavy braking, as Chassis Technical Director Nick Chester reveals.
What can we expect when we arrive in Canada?
Nick Chester: It's a track which isn't used very much, so it's usually a pretty dirty surface when we start running on it. It's very much a traction circuit, as there are quite a few slow corners and then some big long straights. Canada is about power and traction. You need a lower downforce set-up level, as you also need that straight-line speed. Striking a downforce balance can be quite difficult, but we're usually pretty good at working out what level to run when we get there. Kerb riding too is important, and we need to get the car low and stiff to balance between the best aero and getting the car riding the kerbs. Kerb riding is important but we need to optimise rideheights for the aero platform so there is a balance to be struck between aero performance and getting the car riding the kerbs.
Is it difficult to manage a flyaway race in between the busy European segment of the calendar?
NC: The logistics are slightly harder for Canada, as you have to pack up earlier and get it freighted out there. It's going to be more difficult afterwards as we will need to get everything back ready for the triple header. It's going to be a challenge and a big job.
Will there be anything new for the Renault R.S.18 in Montreal?
NC: There's a B-spec engine for Canada and we're looking forward to that, as it should bring a bit more performance. There are a few bodywork updates too with some rear wing end plates, as well as small changes to the front wing. We're trying to bring things to the track at every race.
How do we look back on Monaco?
NC: Overall, it was a decent weekend with both cars scoring points. Nico recovered well in the race and worked his strategy very well. Carlos endured heavy tyre degradation to his fronts and had to settle for tenth. It's important that we keep chipping away at points, and we've done that in Monaco.