Renault hopes to challenge F1 Big 3
Renault is aiming to get among Red Bull, McLaren and Ferrari on the grid at next weekend's European Grand Prix with the help of an updated rear wing and Drag Reduction System (DRS).
Renault has broken the top six in qualifying on a handful of occasions this year, but at the last two races its best grid position has been ninth. However, team boss Eric Boullier is confident the R31s will be quicker over one lap at the Valencia street circuit.
"The track will suit us well," he said, "and we expect to be fighting for places on the front three rows come Sunday's starting grid."
Technical director James Allison explained that a larger DRS flap on the rear wing would allow the Renault's to gain a bigger advantage over one lap.
"As always, there will be a host of aero updates," he said. "The most significant of these will be a new top rear wing with a bigger DRS switching effect. This will bring outright lap time in qualifying and offer better overtaking potential during the race."
Boullier added that the team is aiming to head into the summer break in August with its narrow lead over Mercedes - currently eight points - still intact.
"We need another podium or two in this time to cement our position amongst the grid's elite teams, and to remain competitive ahead of Mercedes GP whose season has clearly improved," he said. "Retaining our position in the top four in the constructors' championship is an absolute priority for us, and we must continue to lay down the marker over the next four races."
On that note, Vitaly Petrov is confident the best has yet to come from the team.
"I think we can do much, much more," the Russian driver added. "I know I've said that before but I really believe we can. We've had good results, but together we can achieve greater things. Sometimes I've made mistakes, sometimes our pit stops could have been improved, but generally I think we can take it up a level. We need to minimize the mistakes, and the points will keep on coming.
"My target for the coming races is points, points and more points. It would be much better to take our summer break in the knowledge that we had scored some well-deserved points in the lead-up to it. Valencia's a circuit I know very well so I think I have an advantage going into the race. I'm feeling pretty good heading into the next four events." ESPN F1