However, the failure to better interpret the diffuser regulations – they weren't the only ones in that position – and a quite ineffective Kinetic Energy Recovery System, among other things, have turned the Renault R29 into a points rather than podium challenger. While admitting his team failed on the 2009 development, chief of engineering Pat Symonds also believes Renault are better for it for the remainder of the season.
Renault have so far scored only 5 points this season – all brought home by Alonso – while always struggling to keep the pace with the “diffuser three” (Brawn GP, Toyota and even Williams) in both qualifying and race.
“I'm disappointed with our start to the season. We're all well aware of the difficulties of trying to assess competitiveness through winter testing, but when we arrived in Melbourne we did feel we were higher up the pecking order than the performance we actually delivered,” said Symonds in a preview for the Spanish Grand Prix.
In order to get Alonso and Nelsinho Piquet Jr. back on the floating line, Renault have prepared some new aerodynamic features for the Barcelona race this weekend. In addition to a new version of the double diffuser, the Enstone based team have also prepared some new wheel fairings and a revised rear wing aimed to give the R29 a downforce boost.
“The whole team is still pushing hard with development and the diffuser and floor that we brought to China was very much a first attempt and over the course of the year we will see several more versions, the first of which we hope to have in Barcelona.”
“In addition, we've got new wheel fairings this weekend with quite a major design change to give us an increase in downforce and a new rear wing. On top of that we've got a few small aerodynamic tweaks that we will introduce on a race-by-race basis. Overall we can expect a reasonable step in performance for Barcelona,” confirmed Symonds.