Formula 1

“I Will Remember This Weekend for a Long Time” – Abiteboul

2 Mins read
A Renault nose, complete with a little French flag at the tip
Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd

Renault Sport Formula One Team‘s Cyril Abiteboul said he will remember the French Grand Prixfor a long time” following Formula 1’s first race in the country for a decade.

France is not only the birthplace of Formula 1, but of the Renault team and of Abiteboul himself. This home support resulted in an estimated 65,000 fans flocking to the track for the race alone, and caused traffic chaos around the circuit. Despite the bedlam surrounding the track, it was this additional support that made it an unforgettable race for the Frenchman, who counted the crowd among his favourite parts of the weekend.

I will remember this weekend for a long time. Outside of the sporting results it’s been an amazing weekend and in particular seeing the crowd just before the race was really something special. As the French team of the Championship we were fully mobilised to turn this first edition into a success, so it was a huge reward for all involved including all the fans invited by Renault.”

Turning his attention to the racing itself, Abiteboul said he felt sorry for Renault driver Carlos Sainz Jr. The Spaniard had put in a valiant performance in qualifying, securing seventh place behind the big three teams, and immediately prospered at the start of the race thanks to the contact between Sebastian Vettel and Valtteri Bottas. His luck ran out towards the end of the race however, as his Renault engine suffered an MGU-K failure, leaving him down on power.

“Moving onto the racing, today we had a decent finish with a bit of frustration. It was pretty much a perfect weekend from Carlos so I feel sorry for him and losing some well-deserved places due to the MGU-K failure.”

This isn’t the first time a Renault engine has lost the MGU-K. Three races ago Aston Martin Red Bull Racing driver and Renault engine customer Daniel Ricciardo lost his MGU-K at the Monaco Grand Prix, giving him a severe power deficit to the rest of the grid. Whilst the Australian was able to keep the lead thanks to Monaco’s tight, twisty nature, the flat-out, long straights of the Paul Ricard circuit left Sainz with little defence against faster cars, ultimately seeing him slide down to eighth.

On the other side of the garage was Nico Hülkenberg, who had a relatively weak weekend by his standards. The German struggled to find pace, only managing twelfth in qualifying, then came across the line ninth – his worst result of the season, retirements aside.

This relatively poor performance isn’t the end of the world though, says Abiteboul, who revealed the team is doing its all to finish in the best-of-the-rest fourth place in the Constructors Championship.

“Nico did struggle more this weekend and was not able to deliver his customary strong finish, however we come away with a number of points on a track we knew would be challenging. We are still consolidating that fourth position and are now five points ahead of our entire 2017 points tally after only eight races. We are getting stronger and we must employ all the support we feel from French Grand Prix this weekend to keep pushing.

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