Renault says it will look back with huge satisfaction at its development progress this season, as it estimates it has found two seconds' worth of pace between the season opener in Bahrain and this weekend's Abu Dhabi finale.
Although the upgrade push was not enough to get the team back on the top step of the podium, Renault will finish fifth in the constructors' championship compared to last year's eighth, and has been a top-three contender with Robert Kubica at many races. Technical director James Allison reckons the development rate this year has been even higher than during Renault's championship-winning seasons in the mid-2000s.
"I can't remember a season with a greater rate of development," said Allison. "I don't know whether the total number of upgrades we've made to the car is the highest we have achieved, but the accrued lap time gain through the season is certainly the biggest I can remember.
"The goal has been to get as much performance on the car as possible and that has meant putting something new on for every race. What I'm most proud of is how the whole factory has pulled together, from the design office to the guys who make the parts, to deliver the performance to the car as quickly as possible."
He highlighted Renault's F-duct, which it introduced for Spa, is the most significant factor in its progress.
"Although we were one of the later teams to introduce an F-duct, we were quite proud that we were able to make it work from the first timed session and that it was the first F-duct to attempt to stall the wing main plane rather than just the flap – a layout which creates a bigger stalling effect. At Spa, for example, the gain from the F-duct was worth more than half a second per lap," Allison said. "Packaging the F-duct was quite tricky considering the R30 was not designed with such a thing in mind. As a result, the effort that went into the project to fit it retrospectively was considerable."