‘No blank cheque’ for success, insists Renault’s Nick Chester

Renault chassis technical director Nick Chester has said that team doesn’t have an unlimited budget when it comes to buying its way to success.

“I don’t think there’s ever a blank cheque, unfortunately,” he told the official Formula1.com website this week. “You have to justify what you want to do, show the value you’re going to get from how you want to expand.

“And you have to show that you’ve been credible along the journey, which I think we’re doing now.”

Things are certainly much better on the financial front now than they had been before Renault took back ownership of the team from Lotus at the end of 2015. The team is still rebuilding its resources after that near-death experience.

“Over the last two to three years since Renault took ownership of the team, we’ve pumped an awful lot of money into capital investment,” Chester agreed. “You can see that all around the factory.

“We’ve got a paint facility we didn’t use to have,” he said. “We’ve got buildings for machining chassis, and machining centres

“We’ve got our own 60 per cent wind tunnel. It’s a really good tool,” he added. “It’s another area where we’ve had a lot of investment in the last two years to bring some of the systems up to the latest state.

“There’s been loads of investments,” he said. “I think we’ve been quite lucky.”

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The investment appears to be paying off. Renault is currently in fourth place in the constructors standings and the ‘best of the rest’ behind the Big Three of Ferrari, Mercedes and Red Bull.

However the team is over a hundred points adrift from third place at the halfway point of the season and needs to make a quantum leap to improve further.

“They are looking with us at what we need to do to make the next big step,” Chester said Renault management expectations. “It’s just that you can only build up at a certain rate.

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He added that a lot of focus was on what the team could do in 2021 when the sport’s technical regulations will be significantly overhauled.

A major element of the team’s technical strategy is to bring more of the production work in-house to provide for quicker turnaround and improved quality control.

“We’re showing that we’ve been coming up in the last two years,” he said. “A mixture of that progression – and having a good plan of where we want to get to – will help secure the next step.”

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