Renault’s Cyril Abiteboul: “We were expecting a difficult Italian Grand Prix”


Renault did everything they could to get Nico Hulkenberg into the points at Monza, but to no avail - Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd

The Renault Sport Formula 1 Team left the Autodromo Nazionale Monza without adding to their points tally, with managing director Cyril Abiteboul admitting they were expecting the weekend in Italy to be tough.

Nico Hülkenberg could only finish thirteenth in Sunday’s race, while Jolyon Palmer was forced into retirement with a transmission issue just after half distance while well out of the top ten himself.

Abiteboul felt they did everything they could to try and get Hülkenberg into the points but fell short as balance issues on his RS17 made it difficult to challenge those in front of him.

“We were expecting a difficult Italian Grand Prix,” said Abiteboul. “We did everything within our means to get Nico into the points.

“However, with the pace we had today, it wasn’t possible; the balance of the car simply wasn’t there throughout the weekend.

“Unfortunately, we had an issue with the transmission on Jolyon’s car. We made the decision to stop his race, as it was dangerous to continue and risk a sudden breakage. His pace was encouraging and, unlike Nico, he felt good in the car but wouldn’t have been able to score points from where he was in the race.”

Despite the lack of points for the works team, Abiteboul insists there were positives to take away from Monza, with Daniel Ricciardo’s fourth place finish for Red Bull Racing a highlight, with it being the best result for a Renault-powered car at the ‘Temple of Speed’ since the current specification of engine was introduced.

“Daniel Ricciardo’s spectacular drive through the field to fourth place must be highlighted,” said Abiteboul. “It’s the best finish for a Renault engine at Monza since the beginning of the V6 turbo hybrid era.

“Monza is a reference point and our progress year on year is promising. This result could have been even better if he was positioned further up on the starting grid.

“This shows that more than ever before, we have to continue to work hard on reliability both with the engine and the chassis. We hope that the upcoming races will play more to our strengths.”