Renault is to introduce a sizeable development step to its car at this weekend's German Grand Prix as it bids to become the third-fastest team in the second half of the season.
Fernando Alonso and Nelson Piquet have been unable to finish on the podium so far this year, with Renault failing to follow through on its successful end to the 2008 campaign. However, even though Alonso for one has expressed some frustration at only being able to fight for the lower points-scoring positions, the team is hopeful that things will improve from now.
With a host of upgrades, specifically in aerodynamic terms, scheduled for the Nurburgring, the team is optimistic about where it goes from here.
"New developments are introduced at every race and we've got a reasonable upgrade for the Nurburgring, which includes a further version of the new front wing that we evaluated at Silverstone," said Renault's director of engineering Pat Symonds. "We're also hoping to have some new rear wheel fairings and an updated engine cover as well as some mechanical upgrades."
He added: "As always we are concentrating our attention on aero as it's still the fundamental element that brings the most speed to the car. But rather than just putting parts on the car, we're also working on the usability of that aero: exploring the aero mapping so that we get the most from the car in every corner."
Symonds believes that Renault is experiencing a repeat of the situation it found itself in 12 months ago – when it started the season slightly off the pace but recovered to be one of the best outfits by the end of the campaign.
"We are in a similar position to last year when we said that we wanted to end the season with the third fastest car," he said. "Doing that this year is probably more difficult as the middle bunch of teams is much tighter and we have limitations on where we can develop. But finishing the season with the third fastest car still has to be the target, although where that leaves us in the championship standings is difficult to predict."
Alonso believes that making progress up the field this year is harder to achieve, however, because the competitive order is much tighter.
"The position we are in at the moment is similar to last year, but this time all the teams are much closer together and so it's more difficult to take a big step forward," said the Spaniard. "If you can find three of four tenths with an upgrade, it can make a huge difference and put you five or six places higher up the grid.
"That's what the team is looking for – that magic component which gives us a big boost, but we know it's not easy to find."