Daniel Ricciardo says a set-up tweak discovered at Silverstone last month has put Renault’s R.S.20 in a “sweet spot” that has fundamentally improved the car’s performance.
At Spa last weekend, Ricciardo and teammate Esteban Ocon delivered to Renault its best grouped result in a race since the French manufacturer’s return to F1 as a works outfit in 2016.
The result validated the R.S.20’s strength in a low-downforce configuration but also a specific set-up uncovered at last month’s 70th Anniversary Grand Prix at Silverstone.
“There is definitely something we picked up from Silverstone – like a sweet spot,” Ricciardo said at Spa.
“I found it in terms of feeling in the car: ‘right, this is where we need to run the car’. And we played around a bit here as well this weekend with it.
“And again there was one session, I think it was in FP2, where I was like: ‘okay we found the sweet spot.’ So there is something fundamental which I think we’ve got a good choke hold on.”
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While Spa’s high-speed layout catered to the specific set-up configuration, Ricciardo believes the setting can also work in a high-downforce environment.
“I think we can get it working on high downforce tracks,” he said. “It’s not typical to low downforce. We can run it on all levels, so I think it’s just finding what works best with a high downforce.
“It certainly brings the car alive. So yeah that’s something which I’m pretty confident in: where the RS20 likes to be run.”
The benefit of the set-up is such that the R.S.20’s lower drag trim could be put to good use at a high-downforce track according to Ricciardo.
“We put the big wing on because that’s going to be fastest, but I don’t know,” said the Aussie.
“I wonder if we try running lower at some typical high [downforce] circuits, and accept that that’s a weakness now, and maybe see if we can make something work more with a smaller wing.”
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