With only two races remaining in the 2016 Formula One World Championship, the Renault Formula One team are running out of time to impress. Currently they sit in ninth place with just eight world championship points to their credit and while eighth place is only 21 points in front, it doesn’t seem likely that they will be up to the challenge.
Despite everything looking done and dusted for the season, Team Principal Fred Vasseur, has confirmed just how motivated everyone still is as they prepare for the penultimate round here at the Interlagos Circuit in Brazil this coming weekend
Here he talks about the coming race, and just what the plan is going into the off season…
What do you expect from the next race in Brazil?
We are seeing for a while now that we have made a step up in terms of performance regardless of the circuit we are visiting, so that is encouraging. We are seeing that the gaps in the midfield are getting smaller all the time and it’s up to us now to put it all together in terms of set-up, tyre management, and extract everything possible from the potential of the car.
What do you want to see from the last two races of the year?
I expect further progress on track as we continue to extract the maximum from the R.S.16. There are still areas that we can work on to improve the overall team performance whether it is pit stops, set-up work or tyre management. I know that the team is completely focussed on that and it’s good to see their motivation.
The 2017 wheels and tyres are considerably bigger than the current ones: aside from performance, what are the implications for the team?
It’s true that it will require a bit of a different set-up! The crew will certainly have to focus their training in this area as the tyres will be heavier and we’ll also need different equipment ranging from racks to tyre blankets. We will need to conduct a lot of pit stop practice – as we always do – as the rear tyres are significantly wider as well as heavier. It’s going to take some time to adapt, but that is always part of the challenge of Formula 1. We’ll pay a considerable amount of attention to this before the first race of 2017.
What’s the plan for the off-season?
2017 is a big challenge: we have a new technical challenge with the changed regulations and it will be the first car we produce under our new regime. There is a real excitement about the new car and the factory has some very busy months ahead producing it. There is a big unknown for next year as everyone is creating their new cars in isolation and we won’t know how we compare until we hit the track at the first test in Barcelona. That is part of the excitement in this industry. We can’t wait to be out on track for the first day of testing to get a feel of where we are at. But, until then, we have the two final races of 2016 and, rest assured, we’ll push all the way on track in Brazil and Abu Dhabi.