Daniel Ricciardo showed promising pace from the first three races of the season with two eighth place finishes to show for it. Now it's time for Silverstone where the Australian made his Formula 1 debut in 2011, as he aims to give it his all.
What do you enjoy most about racing at Silverstone?
Daniel Ricciardo: I love racing at Silverstone. It's a special one for me especially as it's where I first raced a Formula 1 car back in 2011. That feels quite long ago now, but I do remember it well. Silverstone is a great track, it's quite epic at full whack with a nice flow to it. It's high-speed throughout and you have to be quite brave in a few places and get the car to stick. We all love Maggots and Becketts, they are amongst the best corners of the entire season and that's a lot of fun.
How confident are you heading into this race?
DR: We do have a couple of updates ahead of Silverstone. I think it's pretty evident we've made a good step with the car this year, but so have other teams, and we have to keep progressing and developing in order to achieve better results. Silverstone is one of those tracks which is flowing with mainly medium to high-speed corners. I'm looking forward to testing out some of these new upgrades and hopefully finding a bit more performance.
What would you say about the first three races?
DR: We have had eighth every race. It's not too bad, but we know we've had more speed than just the 12 points to show for in all three of the races. We had a couple of reliability issues, which I think we're on top of now and a couple of qualifying sessions where we've just lacked a tenth here or there. For these next few races, we have to target better points and I think that's certainly achievable. It's very close between a handful of teams and we are not far from one of those top five, top six finishes. It's coming, let's go!
It's been an eventful opening to the season for Esteban Ocon with plenty of pace and potential on offer. The Frenchman is targeting a better haul of points from the next batch of races, beginning in Silverstone this weekend.
What stands out at Silverstone?
Esteban Ocon: Silverstone is a really fun circuit to drive. In a Formula 1 car, any fast sequence of corners are a fantastic experience and, at Silverstone, you get that throughout. We all talk about Maggots and Becketts, but they are so much fun to drive in a modern car. They are just awesome. It's a challenging lap, but a track where a lot of it is down to the driver. It's about nailing every corner and carrying momentum through the whole lap. There are a few overtaking spots there, so I'm sure there will be some great racing and we'll be aiming to be fighting for those points places.
I have some nice memories from racing Formula 3 in Silverstone. I was on pole, got three podiums and won a race there in 2014 and then I also took a podium in GP3. Another thing to consider at Silverstone is the weather! We've had some interesting weather so far this season and Silverstone won't be any different. Rain or dry, I'm sure we'll be ready for the challenge.
How would you evaluate the first three races?
EO: We have a clear area that we need to work on. We learnt a lot from the first races of the season. We know we have improved a lot, but we also know there are more things to keep on top of and get better. The potential is there, it's just about extracting those little details and maximising everything. I want to pick up more points from these next races and I'm sure we can do it. We have a couple of new upgrades to try out, so we'll see what they bring and aim to get the most from our package.
It's been a mixed start to the season for the team as it prepares for the British Grand Prix. Chassis Technical Director Pat Fry outlines the challenges of Silverstone and explains the various upgrades to the Renault R.S.20 for this weekend.
What are the main challenges of Silverstone?
Pat Fry: Silverstone is a mixture of medium and high-speed corners. The old part of the circuit is fantastic, especially the run through Maggots, Becketts and Chapel. It's a great circuit for highlighting potential car performance problems and identifying what works well and what doesn't. You need a good level of efficiency in the car and it's also quite a power sensitive circuit. The last race in Hungary was at the extreme maximum downforce. Silverstone, however, is more about having an efficient car that works well in the high-speed corners. In the past, our car hasn't been suited to this sort of track but, this year, the signs are there that we're heading in the right direction.
What upgrades is the team planning to bring to the Renault R.S.20?
PF: We are bringing a number of updates to the car this weekend as well as running a different downforce level. It's a reasonable update and it will be interesting to see how it performs here at Silverstone. I wouldn't say it's enough to shake up the order but it's a good upgrade at this stage of the season. Silverstone is a good circuit to test these things, it has enough straights for measuring the aero performance as well as a great mixture of corners so we can really gauge the effect on the cars handling. One thing to consider is the wind, it can be very windy there and it will be good to see how we have improved in these conditions since testing in Barcelona. If it's dry, we'll have an idea of what's going on.
How would you assess the team's performance so far this year?
PF: The results we've had so far, are probably where we deserve to be at the moment. It's been good to see we've improved the car and we're amongst the teams to have made the most progress from last year. There's obviously a lot of work to do and we have to keep developing. Reliability has been disappointing and it's frustrating to have those problems. We're working hard on this and we need to improve all of our processes from quality assurance through manufacturing and the build phase all the way to the implemented on the car.