Renault working on improving RS17 race pace

© XPB 

Since the 2017 season got underway, there's been a noticeable contrast between Renault's qualifying performance and its race pace on Sundays.

Nico Hulkenberg twice clinched a seventh-place position on the starting grid, in China and in Bahrain, but struggled to uphold a top-ten spot in race trim.

The culprit appears to be the balance of the French outfit's RS17 over a longer duration, a weakness tech boss Bob Bell is working hard to remedy.

"The R.S.17 is not as well balanced as we’d like over a full stint," Bell explains.

"Whilst you can get away with this over the course of a qualifying lap - where fresh tyres can mask the balance issue – the performance is less consistent when you take to the longer runs of race stints.

"We have a reasonable understanding of why this is and have a number of developments to address this in the realm of aerodynamics and suspension.

"We tested new parts - including a new front wing - in Bahrain designed to add more aero-performance to the car and also make it slightly more benign to engender better race pace.

"The big positive is that the car has the basic pace to be able to be qualified well. Our current issue is extracting that pace in a race scenario."

Renault nevertheless heads to Sochi with a positive outlook.

"We head to Sochi with a reasonable degree of optimism," Bell says.

"Our target is another step forward from our performance in Bahrain. We’d be happy with a similar qualifying position allied to improved race pace."

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