Renault targets reliability to get both cars in top ten

Nick Hulkenberg, Renault, Belgian Grand Prix
© XPB 

Renault says that it wants to see both Nico Hulkenberg and Jolyon Palmer finish in the points in this weekend's Italian Grand Prix, but admits it will be difficult to pull off.

Hulkenberg took sixth place last week at Spa. Palmer has enjoying his best weekend so far this season until he was hit by a gearbox failure in qualifying, resulting in a five-place grid penalty.

The team's managing director Cyril Abiteboul said Spa had proved it was possible to get both drivers into the top ten in upcoming races.

"Our aim remains to get both cars in the points to keep gaining ground on the teams above us," he said. However, he conceded that Monza might not be the team's best chance of achieving that objective.

"We have to approach the weekend with a sense of caution," he commented. "The remaining races after this weekend should be more favourable for us.

"Monza is one of the most demanding races on the engine due to its frequent and prolonged high speed straights and curves," he commented. "[It] is a legendary circuit with an electric atmosphere to match."

Renault's technical officer Bob Bell pointed out that Monza was the lowest downforce track of the entire season.

"We can go there with a reasonable amount of confidence having shown in Spa, a high power track, that we can compete," he said.

"We have a couple of new aero refinements," he added. "The aerodynamics packages and wing settings [have been] tailored for the low downforce demands, with a low-downforce and minimal drag optimised package.

"We can take heart with the step forward we have made across Britain, Hungary and Spa," he continued. "I think it bodes well for the rest of the season.

"There aren’t too many surprises left with the circuits we’re going to," he stated. "And we have the capacity to keep development going for the rest of the year.

"We are already working on the 2018 car," he said. "But some elements developed in the wind tunnel can be used on the R.S.17. We are continuing the development of this year’s car.

"We just have to get both drivers home scoring points," he stressed.

As Palmer's gearbox problems demonstrated last week, much will depend on the team's technical reliability in the remaining races of 2017.

"It was disappointing for Jolyon," Bell admitted. "Everything points to it being a one-off as opposed to anything endemic. We will address it for Monza and ensure it doesn’t occur again.

"Reliability is still a priority and we must ensure that Monza is a trouble-free weekend," he added. "Pace is where we hoped it would be at this point in the season, but reliability still needs to improve."

Bell's concerns about reliability were echoed by Abiteboul.

"Performance is where it needs to be given our map. Reliability is not," he said. "It's not acceptable, it's not where we want to be from a reliability perspective, and it has to be the focus for all customers.

"It's different types of issues that are impacting the driver," he elaborated. "Therefore you cannot attribute to one single issue all the difficulties.

"Obviously there is lots of frustration coming from the drivers."

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