At Nürburing, Daniel Riccardo climbed to the podium, the first such achievement for the Renault factory team since their return to the 2016 World Cup. Enstone is now preparing for the Portuguese Grand Prix in good spirits, and Caron Pilbeam, chief racing engineer, believes that Renault drivers will have a chance to compete for points in the 12th stage of the season.
Question: How is the team preparing for the race on the new track?
Keron Pilbim: Two races on the tracks that can be considered new are already behind – in Mugello and at the Nurburgring. Portimao has never hosted the World Cup stages, although in the past some teams have conducted tests there.
Preparation takes place in about the same way as always, but we must foresee everything in order to react correctly to some peculiarities of the route, which are not reflected in its computer model. First of all, we are talking about the level of grip and the nature of the surface, which can affect the ride height.
Question: What do we know about Portimao?
Keron Pilbim: The level of downforce is medium to high. There are a few slow turns on the track, as well as medium speed sections, while the last corner of the circle will be driven by riders at full throttle, and the long start-finish straight can be assumed to start there. However, the first turn is quite fast, the speeds will be close to 200 km / h, so this is hardly a good place for overtaking.
The weather is expected to be warmer than in Germany and temperatures are predicted to be 20 degrees, but it looks like rain and thunderstorms are possible during the weekend. The circuit is located on the Atlantic coast, and strong winds can blow there, which affects the behavior of cars. In general, it is possible that the weather may once again interfere with the weekend.
Question: How does the team assess the performance at the Eifel Grand Prix?
Keron Pilbim: It’s great that at the Nürburgring we took the podium for the first time. The chassis and engine work quite efficiently, and there we felt for the first time that we could finish in the top three. It’s good that we succeeded, because this achievement gives the whole team fresh strength at a critical moment, when the end of the season is already approaching.
It is a pity that Esteban Ocon’s car did not reach the finish line, although during the race he held a good position, and it seemed that he could earn points. In previous races, we gradually increased speed, so now we need to continue to progress and consistently show good results, because the position of the team in the Constructors’ Championship depends on this.