Renault will introduce a new floor and other aerodynamic parts for the Belgian Grand Prix as it tries to maintain its place at the head of Formula 1’s midfield battle.
In the close fight behind the top three teams, the French manufacturer is under no illusions that it cannot afford to ease off in development terms to avoid falling behind.
For the upcoming race at Spa, Renault will bring the fresh developments that it hopes will boost its speed.
“We have a new floor for Spa and some other bodywork parts to go with that, which should be helpful,” said technical director Nick Chester.
“We’re in a super tight battle in the midfield. We have to put more performance on the car to have a good fight until the end of the year, but our target is to retain fourth place.
“We’re being pushed quite hard and we have a lot of work to do. We can do it, we have a 16-point gap, but one good race can wipe that out, as we saw in Austria.”
Chester believes that the best way to ensure it stays ahead of the opposition in the standings is to improve the overall pace to the car, rather than rely on race day fightbacks or misfortune striking at other teams.
“The goal is to out-qualify our rivals as that makes things easier, but if we don’t, and if we’re close, we tend to race well,” he said.
“The objective is to find raw car pace but, as long as we’re close, we’re confident we can out-race our rivals.”
As well as the new floor for next weekend’s race, Renault F1 managing director Cyril Abiteboul says that the team will also evaluate new ideas for 2019 later in the year.
“Most of our resources are now focused in preparing for 2019, which is another important step in the team’s progress,” he said.
“Before that, we have to keep bringing developments to this year’s package to find gains wherever possible.
“We are pushing on with aero developments, and will bring some concepts at upcoming races onto the R.S.18 that are ultimately destined for next year’s car.
“We’ve been offensive and decisive in the driver market and now we have to do the same on both chassis and engine development.”