Renault chief Cyril Abiteboul believes his side’s engine reliability problems at the start of the 2019 Formula 1 season are “short-term pain for long-term gains” in performance.

The French manufacturer had high hopes heading into the season and was confident its supposed power unit gains would help it close the gap to the leading trio of Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull.

But it has been hit by a number of reliability issues early in the current campaign, particularly gremlins related to its MGU-K.

“We clearly need to improve the reliability of the engine,” Abiteboul said during the Azerbaijan Grand Prix weekend.

“Over the winter we have been very vocal about the expectation but also about the ambition in terms of power gain on the engine.

“I think we’ve accomplished that, but in order to secure that we had to on a number of occasions to fast-track some of the internal processes because it’s a Catch-22.

“You’re running against time, and sometimes also running against limitations in resources, and clearly every single time we could, we biased our internal processes towards performance.

“So we are paying a little bit for that, but I hope that it’s short term pain for long term gain.

“On the chassis side, I’m extremely positive about the rate of development, which is stronger than it’s ever been, which is saying something about also the new Renault that we are starting to see in action.”

Renault endured a tough weekend in Baku and failed to score any points as it fell from fourth to seventh in the constructors’ championship.

Abiteboul has targeted a “reset” for the Enstone squad during the European stretch of the season, which begins later this month at the Spanish Grand Prix.

“Very clearly, it’s been a bad weekend,” he conceded following the race. “From FP1 onwards we never found our pace despite big changes to the car overnight.

“We finally managed to recover an acceptable competitiveness level during the race for Daniel but it would never be the case for Nico.

“Overall, the first stint of the season has been disappointing, but if we manage to get all things in order we can have a decent competitiveness level as demonstrated on several occasions.

“We must absolutely see the start of the European season as an opportunity to reset.”

 

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