Canada 2019 - GP preview - Renault F1
If we only looked at the result from Sunday, we would not have the full story of our only Monaco weekend. The potential was there to achieve a better result; we just need to look at the fifth place Daniel was holding until the safety car came out after Charles Leclerc and Nico’s incident.
It was an encouraging weekend, with continued improvement on the chassis, confirmed progress for the power unit, pit stops matching the best and numerous successes for our Renault Sport Academy drivers, the breeding ground for our future generation of drivers, including Anthoine Hubert and Victor Martins who won in Formula 2 and Formula Renault Eurocup respectively, while Guanyu Zhou and Caio Collet were both on the podium.
We must now target a result in Canada that accurately reflects our performance level.
Chassis Technical Director Nick Chester looks forward to showing our hand in Canada.
What makes the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve so challenging?
There are lots of elements about the circuit that make it one of the more challenging on the calendar. Montreal is a power sensitive circuit but there are lots of big stops over a short lap, so finding the right balance between drag and aero efficiency is key. There are some chicanes in the middle of long straights and riding the kerbs can shorten the lap further and improve lap time. We look carefully at ride and suspension to improve the kerb riding, but we were pretty good on this in Monaco so hopefully we can carry that forward. Montreal also has a relatively smooth surface that is low grip so getting the tyres to work well will be one of the major items on the job list during Friday practice.
Are there any new upgrades planned for Canada?
We have some aero and mechanical items coming through for Montreal. Our main focus will be concentrating on getting every different element to work in harmony – the midfield is so tight now that we need to maximise the overall performance.
How does the team reflect on Monaco?
Monaco is a unique place – you don’t always get what you feel you deserve if there’s a safety car or accident. The overall result was frustrating as we felt we had a good car that was capable for both drivers to race for points. There were positives – the car was competitive and the drivers were able to push hard on track. We’ll take these, look at the negatives, and hope to deliver on this potential in Canada.
An early incident in Monaco damaged Nico Hülkenberg’s chances of scoring points. And after showing encouraging pace in clean air during the race, the German is feeling positive heading to Canada for round seven.
How much do you enjoy racing in Canada?
I love the Canadian Grand Prix weekend. The circuit is great, the city is really cool and the Canadian fans create a superb atmosphere. Montréal always embraces Formula 1 when it comes to town and there’s a real buzz about the place.
What are the challenges of the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve?
The circuit itself is a mix of a permanent track and a street course based on an island, which makes it unique. It has a nice flow to it: long straights, fast sweeping corners, hairpins and big kerbs to ride.
We have a low downforce configuration for Montréal so the car feels a little light coming out the slower speed corners. To be quick there, attacking the kerbs and being brave by getting close to the walls is very important. It’s a difficult circuit for brakes and you have to be confident when going deep into the corners. It’s a difficult place for overtaking, but the final chicane has seen many famous moves in the past and that’s probably the best opportunity.
What are your post-Monaco thoughts heading into Canada?
We left Monaco feeling disappointed as there was potential for a strong team result given our solid race pace in clean air. We need to get back scoring regular points. After Monaco, I felt very encouraged by improvements made to the car but our competitiveness level was not illustrated by the results. Canada is our next opportunity to get our season back on track and we’ll be doing everything we can to return to the top ten.
Daniel Ricciardo left Monaco with two points but knew there was potential for so much more. Now the Australian has his sights set on Montréal at the circuit that delivered his maiden Formula 1 victory.
What do you like about the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve?
The Circuit Gilles Villeneuve is my type of race track. It’s another street-based circuit where walls are close, there are kerbs to ride and there’s no room for driver error. There aren’t many corners there, but still, it’s a tricky track to get right as each corner is complex and you need to get in a good flow to combine them all together. It’s good to go straight into Canada on the back of racing on a street circuit as we’re already quite dialled in. The circuit is usually a little dirty in the early running as it’s not used that often, but once it’s rubbered in we’ll be up to speed.
What makes Canada so special for you?
Canada will always be a memorable place for me, as it’s where I won my first Formula 1 race in 2014. We had to battle from sixth on the grid and were fortunate with some problems for other cars ahead of us, but nevertheless, winning for the first time was incredibly special and something I’ll never forget!
How do you look back on the Monaco Grand Prix?
It was very frustrating to leave Monaco with just two points, as we should have been in the mix for a lot more. We missed an opportunity and we have to learn from that. Looking at the positives, the car felt good during qualifying and the race and I’m pleased with how we put the work in to progress through the weekend. We’ll look at what happened, push for improvements as best we can ahead of Canada and go there expecting to be in and amongst it.