Cyril Abiteboul said the emphasis for Renault during the Brazilian Grand Prix was on reliability, which came at the cost of some performance, with the best result for a car powered by the French engine supplier being Max Verstappen in fifth.
Two weeks previously in Mexico City, Verstappen took victory but four Renault-powered cars failed to see the chequered flag, and heading into race day, Abiteboul was part of a war of words with Scuderia Toro Rosso, a team that has suffered with multiple engine-related issues in recent races.
Abiteboul, Renault’s Managing Director, said it was important to be reliable in Brazil, but it was clear all three Renault-powered teams were not as quick as they should have been as a result.
“Our focus was on reliability for this weekend and we saw three Renault-powered cars finish in the top ten and five cross the finish line,” said Abiteboul.
“This better reliability unfortunately came at the expense of performance, as were clearly running below our potential pace.”
The works Renault Sport Formula 1 Team scored just the solitary point at the Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace with Nico Hülkenberg in tenth, with team-mate Carlos Sainz Jr. in eleventh, but Abiteboul said there was not much more they could have done, particularly with both Daniel Ricciardo and Lewis Hamilton much faster coming from the back of the field.
“Our race result was decided on the first lap, with both drivers losing position and then Ricciardo and Hamilton moving up the order,” said Abiteboul.
“There were no opportunities to gain position thereafter.”