Cyril Abiteboul, the Renault Sport Formula 1 Team team principal says that the squad’s double-points finish in the Formula 1 season-opening Australian Grand Prix “shows we’re in line with our targets” but that things are not “perfect” yet.
Nico Hulkenberg and Carlos Sainz Jr both started, and finished in the top ten at Albert Park, with Hulkenberg seventh and Sainz tenth and team principal Abiteboul labelled the result as “satisfying, but not perfect by any means.”
“It’s a satisfying result, not perfect by any means, but it shows we’re line with our targets of making progress,” said Abiteboul, who did not oversee a single two-car points finish throughout the 2017 season.
“Clearly for a good result, everything must be smooth, from pit-stops to reliability and this double top-ten finish illustrates a good start to the season.
“In the race, the safety car hurt us slightly, but that’s racing and sometimes these things benefit you. We’re pleases with today and the result gives us something to build on.”
During the race, Hulkenberg was able to keep the squabbling Fernando Alonso and Max Verstappen in sight, while Sainz overcame nausea from a drinks bottle issue to see off a late charge from Sergio Perez for the final point.
No failures is a “good positive”
During the winter, Renault’s Formula 1 power unit has come under increased scrutiny as it tries to make reliability and performance gains to allow the works team, as well as customers Aston Martin Red Bull Racing and the McLaren F1 Team to fight with those with Mercedes and Ferrari power.
After a weekend of no failures, and all six cars scoring points in the race, Abiteboul praised the work done at Renault’s Viry base.
“Our focus on reliability has been illustrated with all Renault-powered cars finishing inside the top-10 today, which is a good positive,” said Abiteboul.
“We know it is going to be extra tight in the midfield battle, and that motivates us to keep working hard.”