Formula 1

Renault’s Cyril Abiteboul: “Not a good way to return from the break”

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Carlos Sainz Jr. - Renault Sport Formula One Team - Spa-Francorchamps
Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd

Cyril Abiteboul admitted the Belgian Grand Prix weekend did not go the way the Renault Sport Formula One Team were hoping it would, with the outfit failing to score a point for only the second time in 2018.

Both drivers took new engines ahead of the race that meant they began the race in eighteenth and nineteenth positions, but Nico Hülkenberg’s race was over at the first turn when he locked up his brakes and slammed into the back of Fernando Alonso, with the incident also earning him a ten-place grid penalty for the Italian Grand Prix.

His team-mate Carlos Sainz Jr. took a tyre gamble for the start to begin on the slower Medium compound that did not provide the pace needed to make early gains, and ultimately it meant he finished outside the points in eleventh.

“Today’s race was not a good way to return from the break,” said team principal Abiteboul.  “We knew this weekend would be challenging with a scheduled Power Unit change and the resultant grid penalty for Nico, then we opted to do the same with Carlos after his struggles in qualifying and this meant we started the race from the back of the grid.

“From aggressive aero setups to tyre choices, we tried various measures to turnaround this very challenging situation that simply didn’t work.”

Abiteboul said Hülkenberg’s mistake at the first turn was purely that, a mistake, and he is not known for causing such chaos, but he will learn from his mistake.

“On his side, Nico made a misjudgement at the start,” said Hülkenberg.  “He’s not known for this type of error and I’m sure he’ll learn from it and move on.”

He also felt Sainz did his best in the challenging circumstances, but Renault did not achieve the kind of results expected of them with the package they’ve had this season.

“Carlos made the most of challenging circumstances and finished narrowly outside of the points,” said Abiteboul.  “Today’s result doesn’t reflect our actual place so we reset for Monza and remain focused on our development strategy.”

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