Carlos Sainz Jnr, Renault, Suzuka, 2018

Sainz’s point “an important result for Renault”

2018 Japanese Grand Prix

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Renault team principal Cyril Abiteboul said Carlos Sainz Jnr’s points finish in Japan was “an important result” for Renault.

The team has scored many higher finishes during 2018 but Sunday’s result was the first time it has finished in the top 10 at Suzuka since Renault returned to Formula 1.

“After Sochi, it is further evidence that our race pace is competitive at this stage of our development,” said Abiteboul.

“We’ve also shown that the power unit is capable of doing great things in race conditions at high-power sensitive circuits, like Suzuka, with Red Bull Racing fighting for second place in these track conditions.”

Before the race weekend began Franz Tost claimed Honda’s revised power unit was now stronger than Renault’s. While the two Honda-powered Toro Rossos qualified sixth and seventh they dropped out of the points in the race, Pierre Gasly losing his grip on 10th when he was passed by Sainz.

“Carlos drove strongly throughout and never relented for that final point,” said Abiteboul, “while Nico [Hulkenberg] unfortunately had to retire.

“It’s clear what needs to be fixed and that’s improving our qualifying pace. We’ve seen that small differences can play a huge role in starting between seventh or fourteenth. We absolutely need to get on top of this and get the car back where it belongs at circuits which should be better for us.”

Sainz said he was pleased to take the final point. “For us, a point here is the best we could achieve starting from 13th, so that’s a very strong result for us.

“The team executed everything very well: the strategy, the pit-stop, it all worked. We knew we were up against it this weekend, so it’s great value to score and now we need to build on this in the final four races.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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9 comments on “Sainz’s point “an important result for Renault””

  1. Good job guys, especially since running only the spec B engine while Torro Rosso had the hyped up latest and greatest Honda Spec.

    A job well done!

    1. are you kidding? they should be easily best of the rest and closing the gap to RedBull (given their financial involvement and experience), not fight with STR or Haas. But I feel they are really going backwards, which is such a shame especially now that RIC comes in.

      1. @gechichan No I’m not kidding. I’m not sure why people don’t understand that Renault are spending as little money as possible on their 2018 car and are fully focused on 2019.

  2. It is indeed a good result as it is one of the few occasions they are able to finish higher than the starting position.
    But I still don’t know what exactly happened to Hulk. Was it a consequence of his crash on Friday?

  3. Hope for Ricciardo’s sake they step it up quite some notches…

  4. Suzuka isn’t really a ”high-power sensitive circuit” though. Yes, some circuits might have become a bit more power-sensitive these days than they used to be, but this circuit is still predominantly an aero-circuit.

  5. Neil (@neilosjames)
    8th October 2018, 12:10

    Really expected Renault to be closer to the front by now. I know they were coming from a low point when they acquired what was left of Lotus, but I’m not getting a big ‘we’re a strong manufacturer team’ vibe from them at all.

    1. @neilosjames
      I expected Renault and Mclaren to out develop their rivals as the season went on, in fact, I would say quite the opposite has occurred. Haas has remained strong, force India has improved massively, Toro Rosso has also improved slightly and Sauber has made massive gains. Williams are also not dead last anymore as Mclaren often occupies that spot.

      Disappointing from both Renault and Mclaren to be honest. I actually think Renault got quite lucky signing a driver like Ricciardo for next season, as they really haven’t done enough to deserve anyone better than the Hulk.

      1. Yes, disappointed as well, I never had high expectations from renault, but they’re struggling to beat haas with much higher budget, and look at the points force india actually scored across all year: they’d be ahead of renault, also with much lower budget.

        The only one I’m sorry about is ricciardo, who’s going to renault next year, however not THAT sorry cause he announced he was going to renault just after hungary if I recall, a race where he came from the back with a red bull and breezed past both renaults, so by all means if renault keeps being a disaster he asked for it.

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