The Renault F1 team suffered a bitter end to the 2019 Bahrain Grand Prix as both Nico Hulkenberg and Daniel Ricciardo, were running in the points with just three laps to go in the race before being forced to retire.
Hulkenberg started in seventeenth position and had moved to eleventh position in the first lap. After two pit stops, the German was running in sixth position. On lap 54, Hulkenberg had to retire due to a power unit issue. Ricciardo was running in tenth position and had to retire on the same lap due to an MGU-K failure.
The double retirement was a bitter blow to the Renault F1 Team Principal Cyril Abiteboul. “After a very intense winter, it’s been a very bad start to our racing season. Similar to Melbourne, our qualifying in Bahrain was massively compromised by minor electronics issues, which impacted both cars. Our race today came to a sudden stop so close to the finish.” said Abiteboul.
“These are issues we have previously encountered but something we were unable to rectify in Bahrain. These problems are increasingly frustrating and unacceptable as both cars have shown very good competitiveness both over one-lap and race runs.”
Abiteboul was happy with the performance of his drivers though they came away from the race without points.
“Nico delivered another outstanding drive from seventeenth to sixth. Daniel is building on precious experience in the car, and despite good race pace, his strategy gamble didn’t work out. Daniel will continue his familiarisation in the car during this week’s test conducting performance-related work. We must react and shift our focus on reliability.”
The Renault F1 team will have to improve on their reliabilty to stay afloat in a tight midfield battle this season.