Managing Director of the Renault Sport Formula 1 Team Cyril Abiteboul has scolded Renault’s miserable weekend at the Mexican Grand Prix, labelling the quantity of failures as “unacceptable”.
Four of the six Renault powered cars suffered race-ending failures at the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez, with Scuderia Toro Rosso duo Pierre Gasly and Brendon Hartley also seeing Free Practice sessions end prematurely.
“For its part, the Mexican Grand Prix was particularly difficult with a number of unacceptable mechanical problems,” said Abiteboul, before adding.
“And we have the clear intention to take fast and strong measures.”
“The particularities of Mexico accentuated our weaknesses, but clearly we have not been successful in balancing performance and reliability.”
Only Gasly and race winner Max Verstappen finished the race powered by the French marque – however Renault’s own Carlos Sainz Jr. suffered a steering malfunction which forced his exit.
Despite the troubles in Mexico, Abiteboul does believe that Renault have made big strides over the course of the 2017 season in terms of performance.
“The performance of our engine has progressed a lot this year as the results in the race attest; we now have to find reliability, for both us and our customers, even if Max won magnificently in Mexico.”
“The team remains confident and united, which is essential to maintain progress to the end of the season, and also for our preparations for 2018.”
“We have the means; our organisation is stable, robust and competent.”
Yet Abiteboul has admitted that fifth in the Constructors’ Championship is now likely outside of Renault’s means – but he still holds ambitions to be sixth by the time Formula 1 visits Abu Dhabi for the season finale.
Just five points separate Renault and sixth placed Toro Rosso, with Williams Martini Racing a further twenty-three points out in front.
“This season we set ourselves the goal of fifth in the Constructors’ Championship. Whilst achieving this is still mathematically possible, it is now a tall order after a race where we didn’t score points.”
Abiteboul took heart from the early performance shown by Sainz Jr. and Nico Hülkenberg in the opening stages of the Mexico race.
“Mexico highlighted our performance potential.
“Both cars sadly retired, however the two cars reached Q3 and lined up seventh and eighth on the grid and were in fourth and fifth at the end of the first lap. Points were clearly within our reach.”
“There are now two Grands Prix remaining. We will do everything we can to be sixth at the end of the weekend.”