F1 2018 Pre-Season Report: Renault
Ahead of the opening race of the 2018 Formula One season in Australia in March 25, we take a look at how each team is shaping up for the new campaign.
Here we assess how Renault can re-establish themselves as a competitive team.
HOW DID THEY PERFORM IN 2017
Renault endured a miserable 2016 with just eight points, so 2017 could not have been much worse. Luckily for the French constructor they exceeded expectations with sixth place in the standings, scoring 49 points more than the previous year.
Nico Hulkenberg was the main man after his move from Force India and he duly delivered with 43 of their 57 points – finishing sixth in four races across the calendar.
Team-mate Jolyon Palmer did not fare as well, though, the Briton only claiming one top-10 finish before being replaced by Carlos Sainz Jr in Austin.
THE 2018 LINE-UP
Hulkenberg has been a perennial mid-table finisher since 2012, something Renault will hope changes in 2018 after a year settling into the team.
He has a much more competitive team-mate this year, so the pressure will be back on to deliver those points finishes again.
Carlos Sainz Jr
Having replaced Palmer with four races to go, Sainz immediately picked up some points in the United States.
Much is expected of the Spaniard this time around, with team bosses no doubt keen for him to battle with Hulkenberg more than Palmer was able to.
This will be his fourth F1 season, so he is now an experienced figure. it is time to help push Renault closer to Williams and Force India.
THE TO-DO LIST
- Keep the banter flowing. Social media is just as competitive as on-track racing in F1 and Renault are undoubtedly the kings of Twitter. Their unique insights into life in the paddock need to continue as F1 looks to attract a new, younger audience.
- Take the next step. Having recovered from their 2016 slump, now is the time to reign Force India and Williams in. Renault have to be fast and competitive if they are to worry the front of the grid in 2018.
HOW WILL THEY FARE?
Hulkenberg and Sainz possess the talent to lift Renault back into the hunt for podiums in 2018, providing the car underneath them can deliver.