Renault's speed hurt by reliability focus
13 November 2017 – Renault chief Cyril Abiteboul lamented a lack of pace at the Brazilian Grand Prix as the manufacturer focused on reliability after a spate of failures.
Abiteboul accepted that accepted that Renault misjudged the balance between performance and reliability at the previous round in Mexico, with several drivers hitting trouble.
Daniel Ricciardo suffered a suspected MGU-H failure, having changed several components pre-race, while an ERS problem forced Nico Hülkenberg out.
An oil issue sidelined Brendon Hartley, after a stoppage in qualifying, while Pierre Gasly faced problems in FP2 and FP3, and was unable to qualify.
Renault turned down performance for the visit to Interlagos, another high altitude track, and Abiteboul conceded that Renault was "clearly" below its potential.
Red Bull pair Max Verstappen and Ricciardo placed a low-key fifth and sixth, with works Renault driver Hülkenberg completing the points, a lap down.
"Our focus was on reliability for this weekend and we saw three Renault-powered cars finish in the top 10 and five cross the finish line," said Abiteboul.
"This better reliability unfortunately came at the expense of performance, as [we] were clearly running below our potential pace.
"Our race result was decided on the first lap, with both drivers losing position and then Ricciardo and Hamilton moving up the order.
"There were no opportunities to gain position thereafter."
Hülkenberg expressed satisfaction at returning to the points, as he led home team-mate Carlos Sainz Jr., but also rued the lack of performance.
"It's good to get my first point since Spa, although it was pretty much an uneventful race," he said.
"We lost places at the start and, with [Lewis] Hamilton and [Daniel] Ricciardo coming through, it was a tough ask to move up the order.
"On the one side, it's good to have finished the race, on the other side we did lack pace. I was pushing flat out, so it's a shame we couldn't do more."
A row erupted between Renault and Toro Rosso over the weekend following the recent string of issues, which Red Bull moved to cool.