Renault building momentum for 2018 campaign, says Bell

Bob Bell, chief technical officer, Renault
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Renault's chief technical officer Bob Bell says that Carlos Sainz' arrival at Enstone is already proving a big boost to the team heading into 2018.

"Carlos has settled in very quickly and works with his engineers very well," said Bell. "Heโ€™s been immediately on the pace.

"Heโ€™s a great team player and works well with Nico [Hulkenberg]," he continued. "They are both very mature.

"Itโ€™s key that they remain level-headed and keep progressing together. They are both clearly talented and very quick.

"They see the same problems from slightly different angles, which is insightful."

Sainz took over the race seat from Jolyon Palmer after the Japanese Grand Prix. he qualified in the top ten in all three races since then, but missed out on the points in Brazil.

"It was a big disappointment as we wanted both cars in the points, higher up than the tenth and eleventh we achieved," admitted Bell. "Carlos had a first lap incident where he sustained a decent chunk of aerodynamic damage to his floor."

Bell said that the team had focussed on reliability in Brazil, which may have inadvertently compromised race performance.

"We wanted to be sure both cars finished, and this did have an impact on performance," he explained. "We will look at the balance of risk and reward [at [Abu Dhabi]."

He said the team was going into the season finale "with the aim of maximising our chances of overhauling Toro Rosso for sixth in the championship. Weโ€™ll fight for every point."

But it's not merely bragging rights (and prize money) in this year's constructors championship which is at stake. Bell said that the team was focussed on improvement it can make next year.

"Clinching sixth in the constructors is important as this team wants to show progress en route to being successful and winning championships," Bell explained. "Itโ€™s important to feel and build on this momentum.

"The performance of the car and our ability to extract it has improved a lot over the season," he said. "What weโ€™ve failed to do is take that performance and convert it into points on a Sunday afternoon.

"There is no doubt how quick the car is and there has been a clear upward trend throughout the season on our improvements.

"Our understanding of what we need to do to make the car better has developed a lot, and that will continue into next year.

"We have recruited more people who have the necessary understanding," he continued. "As well as an increase in the number of younger personnel, who are learning the trade.

"There is momentum building in all areas and that has led to the progressive improvement in performance. We want to carry that on into winter and through into next year.

"I get a great sense that the momentum in this team is building for the longer term - and thatโ€™s what weโ€™re interested in."

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