Renault ended their season on a high. Not in terms of Constructors’ Championship standings, where they finished 5th, but in terms of pure performance, as they have made a massive gain over the past season, finishing with maybe even third-fastest car on the grid. Furthermore, in order to cut spending, large parts of the cars have been frozen in development, but, technical chief at Renault Pat Fry believes that car changes for next year are bigger than expected and believes that the newly-rebranded team can produce at least a “half-new car” and, therefore, make another step further.
“Although various chunks of the car are homologated, so you can’t change them, there’s still quite a lot that’s open and up for grabs really,” says the former Ferrari and McLaren employee. “You can’t do a whole new car, but you can definitely do half a one. We’re sort of working our way through what we think is sensible there and trying to do as much as we can.”
New rules will be cutting downforce for about 10 per cent. Asked where the team’s focus is, he said: “Other than nose, chassis, engine and gearbox, we’re looking at reviewing most of it. I think it’ll be the same for everyone. I think the aero development direction we’ve been having, in terms of the philosophy of what we want from it, it has been sound and we need to continue down that route really. The floor changes, it changes the flow structures fairly dramatically, but again it’s the same for everyone. We just need to do the best we can, dealing with it. But fundamentally, we’re still just trying to build on the philosophy that we’ve had really. There’s still quite a lot of scope for what you can do within the rules.”
The biggest changes for 2021 have been the new floor dimensions. Most importantly, a major part of the floor, parts in front of the rear tyre, have been removed. Fry claims that although the changes of the floor might seem insignificant they’re, by no means, not: “it actually changes the aerodynamics at the back of the car is quite dramatic really.”
If this is to be true, can we expect more dramatic shifts up and down the field in 2021? “It will be, who actually manages to cope with that the best really, to see how it actually upsets the order.” muses Fry.