F1 News: Renault considering a "Qualifying" car for 2020
After enduring a patchy start to their 2019 campaign where Renault finds itself languishing in 8th place in constructors standings, Cyril Abiteboul has revealed that the team could be looking at changing the balance of the car and prioritize single lap pace over race distance.
"I think we are looking at two or three changes that are possible to do at this point of time, and that can dramatically change the behavior and the competitiveness of the car next year," explained Abiteboul.
"The first is aero efficiency, and the second is how you balance qualifying and the race because in modern F1 it is all about qualifying.
"All tracks are almost like Monaco now, and there is a different pattern of development of the car if you want to focus on qualifying or focus on the race.
"It can be things like you how you are setting up your gear ratio. If you want to prioritize qualifying over the race you change your gear ratio.
"They are fixed in the regulations and that it is not something we can change for this year, but it is completely open for next year.
"Then, the last point is the rake of the car.
"There is still time. It is not too late to change several parameters on the car.
"It is not a bad car, but that can be improved, so next year is a step from this year."
Renault this year has been plagued by engine troubles. This saw Hulkenberg retire from an impressive position in Bahrain and the team has been losing ground ever since as they've had to run the engine conservatively.
Changing focus though to a qualifying dominant car could be a risky strategy for 2020 with an increase in the number of DRS zones and consistent efforts to increase overtaking in races.
Renault on their part is still adamant that their 2019 challenger is still good enough to help them break free from the midfield pack. Although the team still wants to close the gap to the top 3 teams it is conscious of the fact that the real opportunity for championship glory will come from 2021 regulations revamp.
When asked about the effect of the potential changes to the 2020 challenger Abiteboul said, "Will it be a step to fight for podiums or wins on a straightforward basis? No, because we know F1. And frankly, our best bet is to work on 2021."
"That is why there will be a balanced effort of what we do for 2020 because we want to start now and we will be starting now on 2021 development."
It would be interesting to see if the claims made by Renault materialize on track and Renault can make the jump from 8th in the standings to become the best of the rest in 4th.