“The car has much more pace than we have shown” – Cyril Abiteboul

by Tom Cairns
Cyril Abiteboul - Renault F1 Team at the 2019 Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix - Albert Park - Pre-Race Press Conference

Renault F1 Team Team Principal Cyril Abiteboul was left puzzled after his team’s performance at the 2019 Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix – Albert Park.

It all began with an electical issue for Nico Hulkenberg during Free Practice 1 before a seat-belt problem curtailed Daniel Ricciardo‘s running in the next session.

Whilst the team may have been in the mix to get both cars into Q3, it did not quite work out as Abiteboul had hoped for. Both cars were knocked out in Q2 and qualified eleventh and twelfth respectively with Hulkenberg ahead of the home-hero.

The German got off to a great start up to eighth while Ricciardo went backwards almost instantly when he hit the grass on the pit straight that forced him to pit at the end of the opening lap for a new front wing.

The Renault newcomer later came back to the pits to retire his RS19 as a precaution, as Hulkenberg carried on to finish in a fine seventh place and score six points.

Abiteboul felt qualifying had “impacted” the team’s chances in the race.

“We’re leaving Australia with mixed feelings and a contrast of positive and negatives,” Abiteboul said.

“The main negative was Qualifying, where we had a number of issues that impacted our potential and starting position.

“That made Daniel’s first race complex and we tried to recover positions at the start but we ultimately had to retire his car due to the damage.

“Nico managed to turn around the situation and had a very strong race. He was very smart and drove a good race to finish seventh.”

The French squad’s boss has set his targets for his team to improve going into the next race at the 2019 Formula 1 Bahrain Grand Prix – Bahrain International Circuit on the 29-31 March.

“We know the car has much more pace than we have shown, especially in Qualifying, and it will be the priority of the next race to extract more from the initial platform with a smoother execution across the weekend while we work on our planned upgrades,” Abiteboul mentioned.

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