More upgrades in store for Renault at Sochi

Renault has confirmed that it will be bringing more upgrades to the R.S.18 for next weekend’s Russian Grand Prix at Sochi Autodrom.

The team achieved a strong double points finish last time out to pull away from Haas in their battle in the constructors championship.

Now managing director Cyril Abiteboul says it’s crucial that the team maintains its momentum into the final six races of the 2018 season.

“Singapore has confirmed once again how tight the competition is at the moment as well as the competitiveness of the top teams,” Abiteboul commented. “Even at circuits we expect to play to our strengths.

“We left Singapore with a modicum of satisfaction,” he continued. “We were pleased to have been able to secure our first double points finish of the second half of the year.

“As a result, we were able to extend our slender advantage in fourth position in the constructors’ championship.

“We aim to keep this momentum going in Russia,” he added. “We need to keep pushing in every area and take points when we can as we know our adversaries will do the same.”

Abiteboul was happy that the new aero and mechanical upgrades the team brought to Singapore had proved effective.

“Both Enstone, Viry and the track team worked well together to successfully translate the performance gains seen in the data,” he said.

Although most development effort has now turned to the 2019 car, Renault is by no means done with this year’s model just yet.

“We have some further upgrades and mechanical tweaks we hope to give some further stability,” said Abiteboul when asked what Russia holds for the team.

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Chassis technical director Nick Chester was able to give more detail about what the team is planning for the race.

“We have floor updates for Sochi,” he revealed. “This is an evolution from the update we saw in Spa and this should give us a small gain.

“We ran updated bargeboards and sidepod vanes in Singapore and they behaved as expected, so we will use these again in Russia,” he added. “It was good to get a double-points finish; we’ve been due one for a while.”

Part of the preparation and evaluation of the latest upgrades will fall on the team’s development driver Artem Markelov, who will be at the wheel of the car for Free Practice 1.

The 24-year-old Russian previously drove for the team in the in-season test that followed the Hungarian Grand Prix, but this will be his first involvement in a Grand Prix race weekend.

“Artem is doing well in Formula 2 and he’s had some very good results,” said Chester. “He deserves this opportunity.

“It will be interesting to see what he can do in the car. He’s been a positive addition to the team in his role so far this season. He makes a solid contribution to what we’re doing.”

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