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One positive after the Spanish Grand Prix is moving into fourth place in the Constructors’ Championship. It is the first time we’ve been in this position since our Formula 1 return and, while it’s very early in the season, it shows we are getting stronger, which gives us motivation for the rest of the season.

Overall Spain was a challenging weekend and we did a good job of recovering from a difficult Friday to a positive points haul on Sunday, courtesy of Carlos’ seventh place. We have some lessons to take away, such as starting the whole event stronger, and making sure reliability is absolutely impeccable – we can’t afford to lose any points in the close fight in the championship.

Now we head to Monaco, one of the busiest weekends of the season. From a racing point of view, we know what to expect. Monaco is very much a drivers’ circuit and the speed combined with the excellent working relationship between our driver pairing and the engineering department is definitely a strong asset in this regard. Naturally we will be targeting double points at every race from now on.

On another note, last weekend was a memorable one for our young drivers. Jack Aitken won his first Formula 2 race and Sacha Fenestraz and Anthoine Hubert both lead their respective championships after the first round of racing. This is a great sign that the Renault Sport Academy is moving forward towards its objective of building tomorrow’s champions.

Power Hour
After moving into fourth place in the Constructors’ Championship at the last round, the team heads to the legendary Monaco Grand Prix, as Engine Technical Director Rémi Taffin explains what’s required from the power unit side to take on the famous streets.

How would you evaluate the Spanish Grand Prix?
We showed a good level of performance in qualifying and we had a strong race, most notably with a positive start. We have been fighting at the top end in the fourth place battle, and we have Renault engines in fourth and fifth in the midfield. After five races, being fourth is reflecting that step forward we expected this season. The Spanish Grand Prix showed the same level of performance we saw during the first four races. We got Carlos into Q3, but unfortunately not Nico, but we know the reasons for this.

And were the fuel updates we saw in Spain everything we expected?
The implementation of the new fuel was very well managed. The performance was there and we experienced no problems at all. It was a good step forward.

Does Monaco present a different regime for the engine?
When we get to Monaco, we don’t want to change anything from the last five races. The most important thing for a driver in Monaco is to have confidence in how the engine will behave. Of course, we want to build on our performance, but consistency and predictability is very beneficial at such a unique and challenging circuit. We need to pay attention to how the engine delivers its performance in Monaco because of the low-speed corners and low revs. We will be looking after that, but we are prepared.

We’re targeting double-points at every race, what’s the key to ensure that?
We have over 1000 people working across Enstone and Viry, developing a car that is capable of scoring points at every race. Then it’s about making sure we have the specification to get to the end of each race. When we are at the track, we aim to optimise what we have, every single thing. We have the package to score points at every race, so we need to rely on people; the drivers, the engineers, mechanics to make sure we are proficient in every area.

What can we expect from the imminent engine upgrade?
Race seven, the Canadian Grand Prix, is where we will introduce a fresh engine taking advantage of some upgrades. I hope the gains match our expectations; we’re looking forward to seeing this in action.

Armco Jungle
It was a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time for Nico Hülkenberg in Spain, as he eyes up a better run on the streets of his hometown.

What makes the Monaco Grand Prix a standout race?
Nothing compares to Monaco, there is no place like it. It’s the highlight of the year and the race I most look forward to. It’s just so unique and special in every aspect; the glitz, the glamour, the circuit itself, the whole vibe is amazing throughout the weekend. It’s one of those tracks which give you a sensation of speed and, in turn, a real buzz.

What’s it like to wrestle a Formula 1 car around the streets of Monaco?
From a physical point of view, it’s not the most demanding circuit, but it requires a lot of concentration, precision and discipline. It’s not a high G-force track, as it’s mainly low speed, but it’s full on, a busy lap and means concentration levels have to be on point. Any error will put you in the wall and that means game over. You have to be confident as a driver in Monaco, and believe in your car. It’s usually a thrilling race, anything can happen, even though overtaking is difficult. But that’s the challenge, and I really love racing at Monaco.

How do you approach the weekend?
You build that confidence up in stages, lap by lap, session by session. There isn’t much point in getting over excited, or confident too quickly because you’ll soon find yourself in the wall. Qualifying is where you need to peak and take those risks, getting closer to the barriers and on the limit. That’s when you find that buzz and that excites me.

Is it refreshing to stay at home during the weekend?
It’s a nice change up to the normal routine. It feels a bit strange to go home every night and between sessions, but I like that and it puts me at ease a little bit. I quite enjoy going out on the scooter or biking around the track.

What’s there to say about Spain?
It was frustrating as we’d got on top of the car and I was charged-up to work my way up the order. My focus is now Monaco.

Monte Carlos
Carlos Sainz is aiming to make it three points scoring finishes in a row in Monaco, a track which requires a gentle and meticulous approach.

What do you like about racing in Monaco?
It’s always a good feeling going to Monaco, and that excitement ramps up to another level on the Grand Prix weekend. You can’t drive around Monaco like you do at any other circuit. It’s unique and requires a completely different approach to any other weekend. You are constantly aware of the walls and you have to keep concentration levels high on every corner of every lap through the weekend.

How does a Formula 1 driver approach the Monaco Grand Prix?
Confidence in yourself, and in your car, is key to a successful weekend. You build that confidence up in little steps, all the way up to qualifying when you aim to be at 100%. Qualifying is crucial in Monaco, and it’s usually very tense. I would say it’s one of the toughest sessions of the whole season, if not the toughest and you need to carry that extra level of determination for it. When you nail your qualifying lap at this track, there isn’t any feeling like it, it’s amazing.

What else do you get up to in Monaco?
Even away from the racing, it’s a totally different weekend. For instance, we’ll use a scooter to go from the hotel to the track, which is cool. It’s a really unique weekend in every way. The glitz and glamour is unique, there are stunning sportscars everywhere and lots of impressive yachts in the harbour making the atmosphere a real thrill.

You must be pleased with back-to-back points-scoring finishes?
Barcelona was another good result but it would be a huge mistake to lose focus. We’re confident our approach is the correct one and we’re making good progress. It’s about continuing on this trend and keeping up the hard work. After Barcelona, the team climbed up to fourth in the Championship and the target is to consolidate that position in Monaco with more points

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