Nico Hülkenberg says there is no reason to come down hard on the engine department at Viry despite the double retirement of both himself and Renault F1 Team team-mate Daniel Ricciardo in last week’s Bahrain Grand Prix.
Both drivers were running inside the top ten but found themselves out of the race with just three laps remaining at the Sakhir International Circuit, with Hülkenberg running sixth at the time of his retirement.
With the R.S.19 quick but with reliability problems, Hülkenberg does not know whether it will be easier for Renault to make a fast car reliable than it would be to make a reliable car.
“I don’t know which one is easier to fix honestly,” said Hülkenberg to Motorsport.com. “Obviously we have a history with those problems, so we want to get on top of them and we need to do it quickly.
“But I don’t have the answer for that one.”
Seeing both cars retire so late in the day was difficult for everyone within the team, and the emotion was not only felt by the drivers but by everyone at the factories at Enstone and Viry.
“It is a hard one to swallow,” said Hülkenberg. “Not just on me but everyone. This is when you realise that F1 is about a team sport.
“The engine guys in Viry and everyone will be very devastated, and down. So for sure, there is no point hammering on them. We need to work as a unit and help each other.”
Whilst downbeat with his retirement, the fact he was able to climb from seventeenth to run inside the top six bodes well for Hülkenberg, and he hopes that they can continue to fight at the front of the midfield going forward.
“I always felt we were in the mix,” added the German. “We are with the midfield pack. Maybe sometimes Haas can be a bit quicker, but we are there or thereabouts. It is very close.
“It is probably a bit track specific, but I always felt that we were not far away from them, and even from leading the midfield. I think things are still close. As you saw McLaren was not far behind and Alfa was there, too, so it is the little things that make a difference.
“We certainly are in a good position, but we need to keep developing and keep improving this car to stay there.”