Renault's Singapore preview


Cyril Abiteboul, Renault Sport Racing Managing Director: Spa and Monza were never going to play to our advantages, but in addition to the expected challenges of the circuits' characteristics, we also had to deal with a number of penalties. Some strategic and some more self-inflicted. It is behind us and we came away from Monza by returning to the points, and a better hold on performance. We did, however, get a taste of the strength of the competition. The midfield is extremely tight and we need to optimise every single element to keep our slender advantage going forward.

We are looking forward to Singapore, a track we believe should suit our package. You can never tell what the competition is going to do, but we know we have another few updates coming that should further enhance our performance for this race and also going forward. It's also one that the drivers particularly enjoy and performances are generally good there, so we have confidence in their ability to get the job done.

As important as this year and our championship position is, we can't take our eyes off development of next year's car. We are developing the R.S.19 in parallel to racing in 2018 and will have to carefully manage resources to ensure no drop off in either area. This will be kept in sharp focus at the coming races as we reach the end of the season, but we are well structured and resourced to do so.

With the team back in the points in Monza, attention switches to the tight and twisty Marina Bay Street Circuit for the fifteenth race of the season. Chassis Technical Director Nick Chester aims to have more things to shout about with seven races to run in 2018.

What are the main characteristics of the Marina Bay Street Circuit?
Nick Chester: It's a relatively slow circuit with a lot of corners, which is good for us. It's quite a tricky track for set-up where you try to setup the car to be stable on entry into corners but without too much understeer in the low-speed turns. It's a technical track, but one which is much less power-sensitive than ones we've been to recently.

Our car is good in low-speed corners, so it should suit the package quite well. It's a unique street circuit, comparable to something in between Monaco and Abu Dhabi.

What's key to success in Singapore?
NC: You need good mechanical grip and high-downforce, which helps for the twisty bits. Drag isn't as important as we've seen at recent races, so you need good grip and strong traction to be competitive there.

How much of a factor is the weather?
NC: It can be a big factor. When it's hot and humid then cooling can be tricky. When it's wet, it's a different challenge even though our car goes quite well in the damp conditions. It's a lot of hard work for the drivers when it's humid. There are a lot of gear changes through the corners with the barriers to watch. Concentration has to be high.

What's the post-Monza feeling?
NC: It wasn't a bad Grand Prix in the end. We improved the car over the weekend. We thought we would struggle with it being the biggest power-sensitive track of the year, but, actually, the car performed well. The car balance was good and we had a few new bits on the car, which worked as desired. We didn't quite have the pace to get ahead of our rivals on track, but we were closer than expected and that bodes well when we travel to tracks which are twisty. In terms of upgrades, we have some new bargeboard and sidepod vane updates, which should be useful in Singapore.

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Published: 07/09/2018
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