Bell: Malaysia a 'wake-up call' for Renault
4 October 2017 – Renault Technical Director Bob Bell labelled the Malaysian Grand Prix as a "wake-up call" after a subdued display by the manufacturer.
Renault has made progress through 2017, with its package emerging as fourth-best at several Grands Prix this year, but struggled for pace at Sepang.
Jolyon Palmer spun twice en route to 15th position, while Nico Hülkenberg lost ground at the start and was forced into a two-stop strategy, ultimately trailing home in 16th place.
"It came as a wake-up call," said Bell, reflecting on Malaysia.
"We realised on Friday the car wasn't on the pace as both drivers weren't happy with the balance.
"We were encouraged that we made some changes before qualifying and it was there or thereabouts.
"But lots of things went wrong in the race, most notably at the start and thereon it was difficult to close the gap back.
"It's complex to analyse but, with decent starts and in maximising opportunities points would always have been possible.
"We will use lessons learnt to do better in Suzuka."
Bell nonetheless expects Renault to display stronger pace in Japan and insists the outfit has no major concerns heading to Suzuka.
"The circuit is a mix of low and high-speed corners and frequent changes of direction such as the S bends," said Bell.
"It should suit the R.S.17; speed-wise it's a bit like Spa and Silverstone where we went well. We head to Japan feeling hungry and positive, and we don't go with many major concerns.
"We need to keep working on our reliability as we have the pace in the car to meet our objectives, it's more a case of getting the car across the line with both drivers."
Renault holds seventh position in the Constructors' Championship.