Bahrain Grand Prix – Renault team boss Cyril Abiteboul says his team need to get to the bottom of a spate of issues that afflicted their cars over the Sakhir weekend.
Renault were on for a very strong double points finish on Sunday in Bahrain, running in P6 & P9 with Nico Hulkenberg and Daniel Ricciardo respectively in the closing laps. This was particularly impressive from Hulkenberg’s side of the garage, having started from P17 after an engine mapping issue causing a safe mode to enable on his RS19 at the beginning of qualifying.
With the team enjoying impressive race pace, they were all set to bring home a big haul of points when, within second of each other, both cars stopped on track. Approaching Turn 1, Hulkenberg’s car suffered an engine problem that forced him to pull over and stop. Under the waved yellow flags to indicate the stoppage, Daniel Ricciardo approached the same corner and suffered an MGU-K failure that also forced him to stop and park up just metres away from Hulkenberg.
Having run such a strong race and utilising a perfect two stop strategy to climb to P6, Hulkenberg was understandably gutted afterwards: “It’s definitely a hard one to swallow today. This sport can be so tough sometimes. It was a great ride out there with lots of battling on track to go from seventeenth to sixth, but unfortunately, we couldn’t make it to the finish line. We’ll look into what happened, but I lost power quite suddenly and that was that.”
“We have to be cleaner going forward and make sure we don’t face anymore disappointments like this.”
Team boss Cyril Abiteboul addressed the situation, saying: “After a very intense winter, it’s been a very bad start to our racing season. Similar to Melbourne, our qualifying in Bahrain was massively compromised by minor electronics issues, which impacted both cars. Our race today came to a sudden stop so close to the finish. These are issues we have previously encountered but something we were unable to rectify in Bahrain. These problems are increasingly frustrating and unacceptable as both cars have shown very good competitiveness both over one-lap and race runs.”
“Nico delivered another outstanding drive from seventeenth to sixth. Daniel is building on precious experience in the car, and despite good race pace, his strategy gamble didn’t work out. Daniel will continue his familiarisation in the car during this week’s test conducting performance-related work. We must react and shift our focus on reliability.”