Renault headed to home grand prix with added Va Va Voom
RENAULT arrive at their home grand prix this weekend under a huge cloud of pressure as they look to get their hugely disappointing season back on track.
Of all the midfield runners last season it was Renault who made the biggest statement about their ambitions in the sport as they signed up Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo.
It was a move that shook up the driver market and outlined the French manufacturer’s plan to return to its championship winning years enjoyed by Fernando Alonso in 2005/6.
But despite their positive intentions Renault have undoubtedly being the biggest under-achievers of the season so far.
The team currently sit two points behind McLaren in the constructors championship – its customer team – having endured a season plagued by reliability problems with its RS19 car.
A double retirement in Bahrain for both cars with just a handful of laps to go was just one of the many low points for the team which has struggled to match its on track performance with its lofty rhetoric.
Thankfully for team principal Cyril Abitebou the Canadian Grand Prix showed there may be light at the end of the tunnel.
A double points finish saw both cars cross the line in sixth and seventh place, albeit a lap down on the leaders. Daniel Ricciardo’s superb fourth position in qualifying also saw the team secure its first second row start since Japan in 2010.
It means the French team head to its home turf in high spirits looking to build on its positive momentum.
It will also be boosted by a raft of upgrades due to be introduced at the race which the team hope will bring about a significant improvement.
German driver Nico Hulkenberg has already said he is ‘pretty optimistic’ the new parts will have the desired effect and put the team’s early season difficulties firmly in the rear view mirror.
Time will obviously tell but another strong showing in front of its home crowd could be just the tonic the team needs and finally allow it to begin to work towards its championship ambitions.
But if it were to falter again then expects heads to roll. As one of the biggest manufactures in the sport the team has invested significantly in its F1 programme and expects results.
While it is still too early to write the story of Renault’s season so far, a solid result in France could signal the start of an exciting new chapter.