Analysis: The upgrade Renault is pinning its hopes on at home

F1 technology

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Renault nose, Paul Ricard, 2019
Renault nose, Paul Ricard, 2019

Renault enjoyed its strongest race weekend of the year so far in Canada and is aiming to build on that in its home event this weekend with a series of upgrades for its RS19.

The team which ended last year fourth in the championship standings have had a difficult start to the season in a tight midfield pack. But having addressed unreliability problems with its power unit the team is now pressing on with its development programme, the latest fruits of which are an under-nose cape and heavily revised sidepod fronts.

Following the increasingly popular cape design, Renault have joined Mercedes, McLaren, Williams and now Renault in running this device.

Renault’s nose is a more conventional thumb-tip design. Therefore, so unlike many of the other teams running the cape, they have simply started the shape from the nose’s under surface and the wing mounting pylons. From here the cape curves down quite steeply then rises up towards its tail.

This more extreme shape helps to create the pressure differences to set off the all-important vortices back along the car. Acting as a vortex generator the cape effectively replaces the front turning vanes more usually fitted under the nose.

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Renault sidepods, Paul Ricard, 2019
Renault sidepods, Paul Ricard, 2019

Picking up on the airflow trailing from the cape are the bargeboard and sidepod vanes. This area has been changed as part of the upgrade package, with the horizontal wings on the top of the sidepod now joining the vertical vanes to the side of the car. This set up augments the bargeboard’s job of splitting the airflow; the clean air flows along the centre of the car and the dirty airflow caused by the front tyres is pushed away.

Lower down and to the side of these sidepod changes, the floor edge has been heavily reworked. There is now a small but complex three-element vaned set-up on the edge of the floor to flick up the airflow passing out underneath it.

There are likely other, less visible changes on the Renault. The team has brought lots of small changes to each race this year, and will expect this bigger step should to work as well as the others have, to bring the team’s performance relative to its rivals back to where it was last year. However their performance at home so far indicates engine customers McLaren will continue to keep them honest.

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Renault rear wing, Paul Ricard, 2019
Renault rear wing, Paul Ricard, 2019

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Craig Scarborough
Craig Scarborough is RaceFans' new technical contributor for 2019....

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