The Renault team head to the American leg of the F1 calendar on a high after announcing the signing of Nico Hulkenberg for the 2017 season. The move further underlines the team’s focus on the 2017 season to produce better results. There are still 4 races left however in 2016, and the team and its current line- up look to the US Grand Prix and points.
The tarmac at the Circuit of the Americas or COTA will experience the supersofts tyre for the first time, which will make the practice sessions very important to all teams, a fact that has not been lost on Renault.
The popular Danish driver is no stranger to contract waiting periods and with the 2017 news this season, he hopes to hear from the team by the time this weekend’s race rolls on. If he is nervous, he certainly isn’t showing it, as he previews the American spectacular:
“The start-finish with the big climb at the end is pretty notable then there’s a fast and flowing section that follows – and that’s pretty fun. It’s a good layout that has quite a few different challenges and we have seen some decent racing there. Overtaking is possible and there can be a variety of tyre strategies too, so I think we could have a fun race”
The British driver has seen resurgence in form in recent times, but will be equally nervous about the 2017 decision which could see him out of his racing seat at the French team.
Not having driven there in a full F1 race, Palmer has had to rely on simulator data. Much like Magnussen, Palmer exudes a calmness and humour as he previews the Austin flyaway:
“My problem with the US is the food; there are too many temptations! This is tough as I have to watch my weight so closely. I’d love to be tucking into ribs and burgers all the time! Aside from trying to keep away from the food, it really is a nice place to go racing. It’s something different, especially to be in Texas, there’s a great atmosphere there. Last year we had huge downpours, which was a shame so I’m hoping for some good weather this year and a big crowd”
Renault are bringing a new floor for Magnussen’s car to COTA, which they hope will provide more stability to the overall performance of the car. The track is considered a successful modern layout which will be a challenge to the comparatively slower Renault. Rumours (which we will not repeat until made official) suggest big changes to the driver lineup might still be in the works, at least insofar as Hulkenberg’s teammate is concerned.
* Rhea Morar
(Image Courtesy of Pirelli F1 media)