Cyril Abiteboul, Team Principal: We enter the French Grand Prix on the back of a strong team result in Canada. We demonstrated our ability to recover from a disappointing start to the season in a controlled and professional manner.
The execution of the weekend was good with Daniel and Nico delivering strongly in both qualifying and race. The result, and the manner in which we achieved it, should give us the confidence and motivation to push on through a demanding period of races with five Grands Prix before the summer break.
France is clearly an important milestone. Not only is it our home Grand Prix at Le Castellet, but also the opportunity to demonstrate a further improvement in our competitiveness.
While Canada, a power sensitive circuit, underlined the gains made in engine performance, France will see the introduction of several development items on the chassis. One thing is clear: we cannot dwell on Montreal and to aim for a repeat of that result and keep striving to reduce the gap to the front.
After a strong outing in Canada, Engine Technical Director Remi Taffin reflects on that success and outlines the blueprint to continue the form ahead of the highly-anticipated home race for the team at Le Castellet.
What are the demands of Circuit Paul Ricard from a power unit perspective?
Remi Taffin: From an engine perspective, the demands are close to those of Montreal, however, at Paul Ricard there are more medium to high-speed corners. That's something to take into account when setting up the car. We demonstrated in Montreal the package can deal with long straights and big braking zones. The target on the power unit is to run as much as possible and be reliable to allow the team to evaluate the chassis upgrades we will bring.
How well did the car deliver in Canada, especially regarding the power unit?
RT: Montreal is an engine sensitive, high-powered track and it was pleasing to see good performance from the car. For the first time this season, we were able to see our whole package performing throughout the entire weekend. What counts is doing it again and we have a great opportunity in France, our home race, to repeat that and deliver to the same level. We clearly have engaged with our season now, but we have more hard work to get through. We want to take fourth place back and move clearly ahead of the rest.
How satisfied are you by the progress made overall this season?
RT: We knew we had the performance in the engine right from testing and race one. Overall, we had a good winter, conducted a lot of work on that front, but we were caught by two incidents in the first two races. We showed our ability to react to that. We introduced upgrades in Barcelona, counter measures to our problems, and from there showed we could firstly, be reliable, and secondly, show the performance of our power unit.
We have a good baseline but we know there's a lot more to do and more is still to come. We could say in Montreal we were satisfied because we were where we targeted to be, at the front of the midfield.
How special is the French Grand Prix for the team, Renault and especially for the Viry-based staff?
RT: There's a very good feeling in the team, especially after Montreal. Staff members enjoyed that race - maybe for the first time this season. That's a real boost for the team heading into our home race. When you race at home, you can feel the warmth of the people and their energy and pride. At the same time, it also gives you an extra motivation to deliver, albeit with a bit of added pressure.