Renault Formula 1 team principal Cyril Abiteboul concedes his side has “fallen short” of its “high expectations” at the opening two rounds of the 2019 season.

The French manufacturer is looking to build on its fourth place finish in the constructors’ championship but currently sits seventh following a disappointing start to the new campaign.

Nico Hulkenberg turned in a strong drive to score points at the Melbourne season-opener, before Renault suffered a double retirement at the Bahrain Grand Prix with both of its cars occupying a place inside the top ten.

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

“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.”

Renault will bring a new bodywork, braking and suspension updates in its bid to pull off a “well-executed weekend” in China.

New signing Daniel Ricciardo, who admitted he has been overdriving his RS19 in an attempt to get up to speed with his new environment, feels Renault has far more potential to unleash from its 2019 package.

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

“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.”

Hulkenberg said he is looking to take the positives from his own performance in Bahrain, having charged from the back of the grid to sixth prior to his retirement.

“I would like to take the positives from Bahrain,” he added.

“Disappointment can happen in racing, but we move on as a team, learn from what happened and do everything possible to prevent it from happening again.

“We showed we had good race pace. There was a lot of overtaking, which we were able to hold our own in and we executed a slick two-stop, together with good pit-stops from the crew.

“We must build on these positives and head into China knowing that if we string together a decent enough weekend, we’re more than capable of leading the midfield.”



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