Formula 1’s top teams not only have a qualifying advantage but they’ve also have a knowledge advantage over Renault; so says Nico Hulkenberg.
Renault are set to finish this year’s championship as ‘best of the rest’ behind Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull.
It is a significant gap, both out on the track and on the points’ table.
However, given that Renault only returned to the sport as a full works team in 2016, buying the team back from Lotus who had dramatically reduced backroom staff as they came undone, it has been three years of rebuilding.
One area where Hulkenberg feels they are still lacking is in the knowledge that comes from years of experience.
“The top teams have understood something we have not understood yet, we have to discover this mystery,” the German told Auto Motor und Sport.
“There is no one part that will bring us half a second right away. We need an increase in every area.”
The 31-year-old, who has yet to step onto the podium in 155 starts, also highlighted qualifying and the ‘party mode’ that Mercedes and Ferrari seem to have perfected as one big difference on grand prix weekends.
“The others have a lot more power in qualifying,” he added. “That’s why we often look better in the race. They have to turn it down.”
Hulkenberg will have a new team-mate next season as Carlos Sainz steps aside for Daniel Ricciardo.