Renault managing director Cyril Abiteboul says his team can’t afford reliability issues in such a close battle for fourth place in the constructors’ championship.
Carlos Sainz finished seventh in the Spanish Grand Prix to move Renault up to fourth, one point ahead of McLaren as Fernando Alonso came home one position further back in eighth. Nico Hulkenberg failed to score after being caught in a first-lap incident with Romain Grosjean, but the German was starting from near the back of the grid as a result of a fuel pressure issue in qualifying.
“One positive after the Spanish Grand Prix is moving into fourth place in the constructors’ championship,” Abiteboul said. “It is the first time we’ve been in this position since our Formula 1 return and, while it’s very early in the season, it shows we are getting stronger, which gives us motivation for the rest of the season.
“Overall Spain was a challenging weekend and we did a good job of recovering from a difficult Friday to a positive points haul on Sunday, courtesy of Carlos’ seventh place. We have some learnings to take away, such as starting the whole event stronger, and making sure reliability is absolutely impeccable — we can’t afford to lose any points in the close fight in the championship.”
While reliability is a concern, Renault did introduce a fuel upgrade in Spain that engine technical director Remi Taffin was satisfied with.
“The implementation of the new fuel was very well managed,” Taffin said. “The performance was there and we experienced no problems at all. It was a good step forward.
“We have over 1,000 people working across Enstone and Viry, developing a car that is capable of scoring points at every race. Then it’s about making sure we have the specification to get to the end of each race.
“When we are at the track, we aim to optimize what we have, every single thing. We have the package to score points at every race, so we need to rely on people; the drivers, the engineers, mechanics to make sure we are proficient in every area.”