Renault Formula 1 boss Cyril Abiteboul has revealed “exactly the same issue as last weekend” forced Esteban Ocon out of the Styrian Grand Prix. 

Daniel Ricciardo retired from F1’s season-opening Austrian Grand Prix, before Ocon suffered the same fate just 25 laps into Sunday’s second round at the Red Bull Ring

The Frenchman had qualified an excellent fifth during a wet Saturday and was battling teammate Ricciardo when the suspected cooling related-problem surfaced, causing his race to end prematurely. 

“[There’s] lots of emotions after a weekend like this one,” Abiteboul said. 

“We had good emotions after qualifying with both cars reaching Q3 and Esteban who showed a very strong pace in extreme conditions, demonstrating his outstanding driving skills in his second qualifying with us.

“The emotions were much more painful after another retirement for one of our cars caused by exactly the same issue as last weekend.”

Ricciardo’s car fault prompted Renault to send a batch of its radiators back to its Enstone factory for an assessment in the short turnaround between races. 

Abiteboul stressed that Renault’s poor reliability at the start of the delayed 2020 campaign is simply “not acceptable".

“We had put lots of effort to return, examine the parts in Enstone, and send it back to the track, but clearly there is something that we missed,” he explained. 

“This poor level of reliability is, obviously, not acceptable in a field that is so tight. The race also showed that we need a bit more pace against our direct competitors. Daniel had a good race and he did well to defend for so long.

“Overall, the prevailing feeling is one of disappointment, however, we should not deter from the fact we’ve improved massively at this track compared to previous years. The car has made huge steps forwards but so have the other teams. Now it’s gloves off for the rest of the season.”

After the opening two rounds, Renault sits sixth in the constructors’ and has already fallen 31 points behind second-placed McLaren.



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