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Renault boss admits to falling short of expectations

Daniel Herrero

Wednesday 10th April, 2019 - 8:52am

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The Renaults of Daniel Ricciardo and Nico Hulkenberg in Bahrain

Renault has “fallen short of our high expectations” in the first two rounds of the 2019 Formula 1 championship, says team principal Cyril Abiteboul.

The team has one, single points finish to its name from the Australian and Bahrain grands prix, namely Nico Hulkenberg’s seventh at Albert Park.

On that occasion, the German drove from 11th on the grid after both he and Daniel Ricciardo missed Qualifying 3.

They did so again in Sakhir but were both running in the top 10 before their cars failed within metres of one another.

“The start of the 2019 season has fallen short of our high expectations,” said Abiteboul.

“Our overall competitiveness is good enough for our drivers to be racing in the top 10 and closer to the top teams than last year, but we have suffered from reliability issues.

“We move onto China with caution, but also with a resolution to really get the season going.”

Chassis technical director Nick Chester has advised that Renault will take updated bodywork, braking, and suspension, to Shanghai, where Ricciardo was a winner with Red Bull Racing in 2018.

The West Australian stated after the Bahrain Grand Prix that he believes the RS19 is not “a million miles off” being competitive and expressed similar sentiments ahead of the third round of the season.

“I’m certainly getting there in terms of extracting the maximum and getting more comfortable,” he commented.

“These things do take time, but it’s good to iron out these details going forward. We’ll get there soon and sure enough and I’m confident we’re heading in the right direction.

“We showed signs of that over the race weekend, going from a struggle on Friday, followed by an improvement on Saturday to being in and amongst it on Sunday.

“The car clearly has pace, but for me, it’s about finding all of it. I feel there’s a lot more to come.”

Renault is currently seventh in the constructors’ championship with six points to its name ahead of Practice 1 for the Chinese Grand Prix on Friday from 1200 AEST.

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