Abiteboul is confident that Renault can recover
Cyril Abiteboul admits the Renault Sport F1 team is not where he expected them to be after Sunday’s Spanish Grand Prix.
The Enstone team fell short of scoring points with Daniel Ricciardo 12th and Nico Hülkenberg one place behind at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. But it is as tight as ever in the table.
Team boss Abiteboul said: “Barcelona is always a good race weekend to assess the competitiveness of the car and the team after the first couple of fly away races that are not always representative.
“The midfield is very close and any deviation leads to spectacular variations. But the result is clear, even if without the safety car, a few points could have been possible.
“We are not in line with the targets we have set ourselves. The test next week comes at a good moment to assess particular areas of the car in depth and look at important development items as we define our short-term and medium-term action plan to recover from a poor season start that does not alter our determination and our long-term objectives.”
Ricciardo gained one place by the end of lap one before maintaining position in the early running. The Australian could not make further inroads from there until a late safety car closed the field up with Ricciardo pushing for the final points place, but to no avail.
Having qualified 16th, Hülkenberg started the race from the pit lane due to a post-qualifying penalty and made the most of the opportunity by adding new engine parts to his car. A strong start allowed him good position in the midfield battle, but he too missed out on points after the late safety car.
Hülkenberg said: “It was always going to be tricky starting from the pit lane. It wasn’t a great race as we didn’t score any points, but it was nice to have a normal race.”
Ricciardo added: “It was a frustrating race from my side this afternoon. In the first part, we had the pace on [Carlos] Sainz and at the end of that first stint I was able to take him.
“We were certainly quicker than 12th and, in the end, it wasn’t a perfect. The midfield is so close and everything has to be executed to the maximum for a strong result. We’ll regroup and look forward to the next one.”