Renault DP World F1 Team team principal Cyril Abiteboul was pleased overall with the team’s performance in the Austrian Grand Prix at the Red Bull Ring this weekend, but said that as is the case with the first race of every season, a lot is happening and it demonstrated areas which require improvement.
It was a somewhat bittersweet day for the team, as Australian racer Daniel Ricciardo was forced to retire after suffering problems with the cooling system on his car. On the other hand, however, it was a better day for his team-mate, Esteban Ocon, who was able to work his way up the order to finish in eighth place after starting in fourteenth.
“It was very good to be racing again. It was a typical first race of the season with lots of things going on throughout and some possible high reward for anyone completing the race distance,” said Abiteboul.
“We didn’t manage that entirely with Daniel’s retirement as a precaution for a cooling issue. Esteban did a very good job and it was a solid return to racing for him, bringing us our first points in Austria since the team returned to Formula 1. He will be able to build from today.
“The other positive of the weekend is our baseline performance at a track where we have been very weak in the past, but in a very competitive midfield.”
Abiteboul said that before the team return to the track next weekend for the Styrian Grand Prix, they will need prioritise resolving the issue of reliability, which had plagued them for the whole weekend.
“Ahead of next week, we must focus on the main negative of the weekend: the car reliability that not only cut Daniel’s race short but also impacted Esteban’s build up to qualifying earlier in the weekend compromising his starting position,” he concluded.