An imbalance is the best term to describe Renault F1 in 2020. Though their car has improved tenfold compared to the 2019 season, differences between Renault’s contracted drivers is significant & looks to continue throughout 2021. The subject of imbalance is something that’s been discussed multiple times by Daniel Ricciardo, Renault’s primary driver. Criticism of that imbalance was evoked again after the Eifel Grand Prix at Nürburgring Circuit.
Ricciardo was questioned on the primary factor that’s enabled Renault to sustain notable progress in 2020, which shouldn’t be possible amid the FIAs regulations. Formula One’s 1st Australian driver mentioned that back-wing downforce had improved drastically, allowing for consistent strategies & placements throughout the 2020 F1 campaign. It’s still been a close Mid-Field battle between McLaren, Renault, and Racing Point. Six races are remaining in the 2020 F1 Season & six points divide these three teams from 3rd place in the Constructor’s Championship. It’s expected that McLaren will stand victorious, with Racing Point obtaining 4th, and Renault achieving 5th.
Daniel Ricciardo has managed to P6 or higher since the Belgian Grand Prix. However, the Australian doesn’t believe that Renault’s progress will continue throughout 2021 & 2022. That’d be historically correct with the team, who has struggled to maintain consistency during their Formula One lifespan. Ricciardo mentioned that during 2019, there were moments that felt Renault could achieve a Top Ten placement & those other moments, the car felt slow enough to place P11 or lower.
Renault’s improvements began during the Silverstone Grand Prix, with FIA-approved enhancements enabling for rear-downforce to increase tenfold. This boosted Ricciardo’s confidence in sustaining throttle speeds during the corners, instead of breaking to account for possible crashes. Daniel Ricciardo stated that throughout the 2020 campaign, Renault would continue to perform adequately to their rivals of Racing Point & McLaren.
Poor Drivers = Poor Performance
Outside of the Renault team, F1 Analysts aren’t concerned about the French racing team maintaining their consistency with car performance. Worries arise when reviewing their 2021 drivers of Esteban Ocon & Fernando Alonso. Ocon is known to underperform when compared to other young drivers like Lando Norris or Charles Leclerc. Alonso is aged 39 & will become one of the older F1 Grid drivers. How Renault overcomes the challenges of maintaining underperforming drivers isn’t known.