Formula 1

Renault’s Cyril Abiteboul: “There will always be good and bad weekends”

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Nico Hulkenberg - Renault Sport Formula One Team - Austrian Grand Prix
Credit: Renault Sport Formula One Team

Cyril Abiteboul admitted the Austrian Grand Prix was a bad weekend for the Renault Sport Formula One Team, with the Enstone-based outfit failing to score points for the first time in 2018.

Nico Hülkenberg retired after just eleven laps with what the team principal thinks was a turbo failure, while blistering tyres forced Carlos Sainz Jr. to make an unscheduled second pit stop that left him outside the points in twelfth at the Red Bull Ring.

Abiteboul felt both drivers would have had the chance of points under normal circumstances, but the luck was not on Renault’s side in Austria, and they saw the gap between them and fifth place in the Constructors’ Championship – a position now held by the Haas F1 Team after their fourth and fifth place finish – reduce to just thirteen points.

“Over the course of a 21 race calendar, there will always be good and bad weekends,” said Abiteboul.  “This one is certainly in the latter category.   It was a very tough Austrian Grand Prix with a number of problems that we’ve had to face, especially today.

“Nico’s retirement looks to be due to a turbo issue. We will have containment measures in the very near future. It brought Nico’s race to a stop after a good start and he had been in the mix for what turned out to be an eventful race.

“Carlos made a decent start and we thought we had made the right decision stopping under the VSC. We were in the fight in the top ten when suddenly Carlos experienced massive blistering from his tyres and we were left with no option but to serve an extra stop delayed by some damage to his car.

“This degradation is something we hadn’t seen on Friday, and we weren’t the only team to suffer in this manner today, probably due to very different climatic conditions.”

Abiteboul says there will be plenty of opportunities this season to have more good weekends rather than bad, and it is up to the whole team to stay both motivated and focused.

“We must stay motivated and stay focused,” said Abiteboul.  “There will be plenty of opportunities to recover from today provided we react appropriately.”

Whereas the works team failed to score, Renault can take some pleasure away from Austria as Max Verstappen took victory for the Renault-powered (albeit Tag-Heuer-badged) Aston Martin Red Bull Racing team.

“Our tough weekend was lightened by Max Verstappen’s win, in front of so many of his and Red Bull’s fans,” said Abiteboul.

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