Renault chief technical officer Bob Bell claims the recent leg of three consecutive street races “have caused our progress to falter”, and expects next weekend’s Austrian Grand Prix to suit the R.S.16 much better.
Despite introducing a significant power unit upgrade last month, the French constructor is coming three difficult weekends in Monaco, Montreal, and Baku with a best result of 14th for Kevin Magnussen in Azerbaijan’s capital city.
However, Bell, who returned to Renault ahead of the current campaign, is confident the outlook for the Red Bull Ring is much brighter.
“It’s an important race for us as the low-speed corner circuit layouts we’ve seen recently haven’t suited us. Austria’s much more in the R.S.16’s comfort zone,” he said.
“We left the Barcelona test feeling quite positive, and since then we’ve added the positive step of the B specification engine, but the circuits we’ve visited subsequently have really caused our progress to falter; that’s something we must address.”
Explaining the R.S.16’s struggle on low-speed venues, Bell added: “It’s partly a function of downforce, and that simply goes back to development time. We’re also looking at braking stability, so front locking into a slow corner has an impact on pace.
“For entry instability taking out front wing helps, but then the playoff is more mid-corner understeer possibly driving snappiness on exit. Traction’s another challenge.
“These are things we can fine-tune with weight distribution and mechanical balance for example, but ultimately the more downforce you have the more these type of issues go away.”