Renault hoping for third time lucky in China

Mon Apr 11, 2016 11:49am EDT
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By Alan Baldwin

LONDON (Reuters) - Renault are hoping to be third time lucky and score their first points of the Formula One season in China on Sunday after narrowly missing out in the season's opening two races.

Danish driver Kevin Magnussen finished 11th in Bahrain, after a penalty for a weighbridge error left him last at the start, while British rookie Jolyon Palmer was 11th on his debut in Australia.

Magnussen was slowed by a puncture in Melbourne, finishing 12th and did not start in Bahrain due to an hydraulic pump failure.

"We are generally where we expected to be, but equally some way short of where we all want to be," said Renault F1 racing director Frederic Vasseur in a team preview of the race in Shanghai.

"In terms of race pace there are positive signs; we’re not so far from Williams and we’re not so far from finishing with points."

Renault took over the ailing Lotus team in December, a return to their roots having won championships in 2005 and 2006 with the Enstone outfit they previously owned, but have acknowledged that this season will be tough.

Lotus competed with a Mercedes engine last year and lacked the resources to develop their car, which has had a knock-on effect this season.

Vasseur said last month that it will take years to get back to the top, while Renault chief executive Carlos Ghosn has set a target of being on the podium within three seasons.   Continued...

Formula One -  Australia Grand Prix - Melbourne, Australia - 19/03/16 - Renault F1 driver Jolyon Palmer during qualifying at the Australian Formula One Grand Prix in Melbourne.   REUTERS/Jason Reed