Cyril Abiteboul admits the start of the 2019 Formula 1 season has not been that good for the Renault F1 Team, with results often falling short of expectations.
The team were hoping to be in a position to close the gap on the leading three teams in 2019 but have only scored points twice so far across the opening four races. Nico Hülkenberg started the year off with a seventh-place finish in the Australian Grand Prix, while Daniel Ricciardo achieved the same result in China, however, the team has struggled at times, with five retirements between the two drivers already, all bar two down to mechanical issues.
Abiteboul, the Team Principal of the Enstone-based team, knows Renault are capable of much better results, and he hopes this begins to come to fruition this weekend in the first European race of the season, the Spanish Grand Prix.
“Overall, it’s been a tough start to the year and the Azerbaijan Grand Prix capped off a run of results that fell short of our expectations,” said Abiteboul. “We know we are capable of much more and we need to target clean weekends and races to make the most of our potential.
“To do so, we have work to do on all sides of our operation; chassis and engine on and off track, and work with the drivers to allow them to reach their respective capacities. We are motivated as ever to strive for more and we aim for a full recovery in competitiveness in Spain.
“We know that the midfield is tight, but this also creates opportunities. We’ve seen that fortunes can change in an instant so we go to Barcelona hungry to get our season campaign going.”
Renault hope to regain some momentum this weekend with the introduction of an upgraded power unit, with its aim to boost the performance and enhance the reliability of the team.
While not a ‘spec two’ unit, it is expected to give both Hülkenberg and Ricciardo the opportunity to use more power more often across a Grand Prix, which is one reason to why it’s being introduced so early in the campaign, even though it means that both drivers are likely to take grid penalties later in the season.