Renault feeling the pressure ahead of home race

Nico Hulkenberg (GER) Renault
© XPB 

The Renault team admits that it's feeling extra pressure to perform well at next weekend's French Grand Prix.

It will be the first time they've had the opportunity to compete in their home Grand Prix in ten years.

When Formula 1 last held a race in the country at Magny-Cours, the team's driver line-up consisted of Fernando Alonso and Nelson Piquet Jr. Both drivers just managed to finish in the points on the day.

"The return of the French Grand Prix is going to carry an added level of emotion for all at Renault," admitted managing director Cyril Abiteboul.

"Everyone who works for the marque is proud of our heritage at this event," he continued. "Renault’s first win in the sport came in 1979 in Dijon, courtesy of Jean-Pierre Jabouille’s.

"Rene Arnoux [was] also on the podium that day, after one of the all-time great racing duels with Gilles Villeneuve.

"We have scored a further nine victories on our home soil with some of the sport’s best drivers– Alain Prost, Fernando Alonso, Damon Hill and Michael Schumacher."

However, Abiteboul admitted that it was too soon in the team's current rebuilding process to expect that sort of success again in 2018.

The team is continuing to recruit senior figures to bolster its team. This week, former Mercedes powertrain boss Matthew Harman was signed up as the team's deputy chief designer.

"We are at an early stage of our journey so a win is probably not on the cards," he agreed.

"But as a French team, we know we have extra pressure to perform well at our home race," he said. "The race on home soil also gives us extra motivation to pull together and work well.

"We head to Circuit Paul Ricard on the back of a positive result in Montréal, where we demonstrated, once more, our excellent team spirit.

"We need to match the teamwork we saw in Canada, and exemplify this level of passion and pride in France."

Abiteboul said that the team would have more upgrades for the R.S.18 to try out next weekend.

"We will continue our established development plan on the chassis side," he commented. "So it will be about maintaining this momentum for this very important race in the context of the team’s reconstruction.

"We can’t wait!" he added.

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