Cyril Abiteboul admitted the Azerbaijan Grand Prix weekend was a bad one for the Renault F1 Team, with Nico Hülkenberg finished down in fourteenth and Daniel Ricciardo retiring after contact with Daniil Kvyat.
Renault was not on the pace all weekend, with Hülkenberg being eliminated from Qualifying on Saturday at the first hurdle, while Ricciardo only just made it through to Q2. It was not much better on race day, although Ricciardo found some pace to push towards the points-paying positions, only to retire after damaging his car after reversing into Kvyat’s Scuderia Toro Rosso car as they both ran off the track at turn two.
Hülkenberg, however, was never able to show any kind of pace that would get him near the points, with Abiteboul, Renault’s Team Principal, disappointed that the team could not find any kind of acceptable competitiveness for the German.
“Very clearly, it’s been a bad weekend,” said Abiteboul. “From FP1 onwards we never found our pace despite big changes to the car overnight.
“We finally managed to recover an acceptable competitiveness level during the race for Daniel but it would never be the case for Nico.”
Abiteboul believes Renault has shown glimpses of what they are capable of in 2019 so far but it is up to them to come to the Spanish Grand Prix with the aim of being the best of the rest on a much more regular basis.
“Overall, the first stint of the season has been disappointing, but if we manage to get all things in order we can have a decent competitiveness level as demonstrated on several occasions,” said Abiteboul.
“We must absolutely see the start of the European season as an opportunity to reset.”