Cyril Abiteboul has targeted a double points finish for Renault at the Hungaroring this weekend, citing the success of upgrades to Nico Hülkenberg‘s car at Silverstone as reason for optimism.
The French team has undergone a continual upgrade strategy to its 2017 car, with an eye to raise itself from the lower midfield in which it was mired after years of under-funding during Enstone’s Genii years. Abiteboul has made clear that despite the lack of points scored by the second car – piloted by Jolyon Palmer – his expectations remained the same.
“Our targets remain unchanged; we want to be sixth by the end of play on 30th July and fifth by the end of the season,” he stated. “A double-points finish is well within our reach.”
Abiteboul pointed to the marked improvement in the race pace demonstrated by Hülkenberg at the previous grand prix, which had benefited from new upgrades applied only to the German’s car. With Palmer now getting the same equipment for Budapest, Abiteboul is expecting an improvement from the Brit this weekend.
“We have shown at Silverstone that we are continuing to improve. Chassis developments, in particular the new floor, proved to be positive exemplified from Nico’s eight points and both cars showing strong qualifying pace.
“It’s critical to back up this improvement with both cars finishing in the top ten in Hungary – we want to finish the first half of the season on a positive note,” he continued. “To achieve this, we need to put behind our reliability problems. We know our situation and the areas which require more attention.”
To achieve Abiteboul’s stated goal, the French manufacturer must outscore Scuderia Toro Rosso by seven points – and American squad Haas by three – at the Hungaroring, in order to create a tie for sixth place in the World Constructors’ Championship. His end-of-season ambitions are made harder still by Williams currently holding a 15 point advantage over them for fifth place in the standings.
The goals in question put Palmer’s lack of performance this season into worrying context, as Hülkenberg has outscored both Williams drivers this year, on 26 points compared to 23 and 18 for Felipe Massa and Lance Stroll respectively. Palmer meanwhile is yet to get off the mark for his 2017 campaign.