Renault managing director Cyril Abiteboul has publicly apologised to Jolyon Palmer for the car failure which saw the Brit fail to even start his home race, robbing him of any chance to sore his first points of the season.
While team-mate Nico Hulkenberg secured the teams’ equal best result of the year, Palmer was not even afforded a chance to line-up on the grid, pulling over at the end of the Hangar Straight on the warm-up lap.
“We have to say sorry to Jo,” said Abiteboul. “He finally had the starting position he needed and we all wanted him to get those first points today. He almost certainly would have made it if we hadn’t had the problem.”
Palmer himself was left bitterly disappointed that his best qualifying effort since Bahrain earlier this season came to nothing, especially given there was potential to score his first points since Malaysia last year in front of the home crowd.
“Going out at the start of the race is really frustrating,” lamented Palmer. “We had a hydraulic leak on the first lap, which is pretty gutting as I think we were in a good position. Eleventh with new tyres, a car that was working really well with lots of different options on strategy: all was looking good to get some points. I have had so much support all weekend that it would have been sweet to get them here.”
While Palmer had nothing to celebrate, Abiteboul was able to reflect on a positive weekend for the other half of the garage, having secured sixth place with the sister car of Hulkenberg. The lead car was fitted with a new floor upgrade not afforded to Palmer, and given their form in recent races prior to Silverstone, Abiteboul was encouraged by its immediate effectiveness.
“On the other hand we had a great race with Nico,” continued Abiteboul. “He drove very well, with no mistakes, good strategy execution and we were a good thirty seconds ahead of both Force Indias.
“There is always a bit of frustration to be so exposed to reliability weaknesses as we could have done even better today, but what is important is that the upgrades have worked well and we are delighted to see this bear out in the results. With more to come in the coming races I hope we can keep the momentum going to end the first part of the season on a high.”
Hulkenberg’s points finish has put Renault within three points of seventh place, currently occupied by Haas F1 Team, and in turn only seven points of Scuderia Toro Rosso in sixth.