Nico Hulkenberg, Renault, Hungaroring, 2019

Renault needs to ask “serious questions” about its progress – Hulkenberg

2019 Hungarian Grand Prix

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Renault needs to ask “serious questions” about its lack of progress over the last 18 months, says Nico Hulkenberg.

The team had expectations of closing the gap to the front-running team after finishing fourth in the championship last year. However at the summer break it lies sixth having only scored points in half of the 12 races so far.

According to Hulkenberg an engine control problems cost him three tenths of a second per lap in yesterday’s race, along with other problems.

“The car was quite difficult to drive again today,” he said. “Didn’t really feel together at all today so it was fighting the front axle, the rear axle and just didn’t have the pace. With these things you can’t expect too much.”

The team has scored 39 points so far, less than half the 82 it had at this point last year. “It’s a tough one,” admitted Hulkenberg. “It’s obviously quite below our expectations and our targets.

“I think we need to ask ourselves some serious questions and review a couple of things internally. But there’s been far more lows than highs unfortunately. Not really satisfying.”

Hulkenberg said the team needs to consider “how we go about things and where we’ve come the last 18 months with the car. What we’ve been doing and the fact it’s had not that much of an effect.

“We need to ask ourselves how we go about it in the future to make sure updates will really bring some yield and bring us forward.”

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
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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37 comments on “Renault needs to ask “serious questions” about its progress – Hulkenberg”

  1. Yes, I’ve stated this before, but to me, Renault has been the biggest disappointment of the season so far followed closely by Haas, but the former definitely should’ve been performing better than they have given the works-team status, the budget, own PUs, etc.

  2. Renault tries to buy time and hopes to get performance only through their idiotic dream of a very low budget cap which they think would make them compete with the top 3. Ofc having a budget cap is already a feat, but a lower one is a fantasy. The problem of renault is that the CEO refuses to put money for a constructor team and that the british part of the team refuse to even think that their chassis is awful….
    The engine is average.

  3. I’m a bit concerned about Renault’s future in F1. The works team is strugling to compete in the midfield, their engines are slipping even behind Honda in both reliability and power, the spending cap isn’t as low as they wanted it for next seasons, so there’s nothing going for them.

    It’s either Cyril gets the boot and someone else comes in and steers the boat a lot better or they exit the sport yet again. And with no-one else wanting to join post 2021, that would become a bit on the edge for F1 in terms on engine manufacturers.

    1. Give Cyril the boot and I promise you things can only get better

    2. @gechichan – yeah, I agree with you. Renault have never committed big money to F1 since their return, they’ve run a middle-of-the-road approach to budgets, and have often spoken of it being influenced by the 2021 budget caps.

      With the upheaval their corporate parent has faced recently, that is another reason to wonder how their future will play out.

      If Renault pull out, they may still stay on as a PU supplier for a little time, so as to continue to earn on their investment, without the overheads of being a constructor and paying Ricciardo ;)

      If they also drop out as an engine supplier, I think Liberty will step in and try to mediate a supply of engines for McLaren. Numerically, that will point to Honda also supplying a third team, but when that third team is McLaren, will they accept? Andreas’ McLaren is a very different beast than Zak/Eric’s McLaren, and I think Honda can agree to supply a PU, especially as they’re being seen to do quite well with RBR today. Failing that, one of the other two will have to increase their supply to four teams, which might not be that easy.

      The thing that amazes me is how Cyril has persistent in his position after all these years and promises. Either Renault’s culture is way more tolerant, or he’s got the inside scoop on a bunch of execs! If he were at Ferrari, his fate would have been very different.

      1. McLaren shows that the engine isn’t as bad as the works-team makes it look. Like Verstappen said: if Renaults claims are true (that the have exceeded 1000 bhp), then they’ve build a dog of a car. I think that Renault can do 2 things:

        – either invest more heavily in the chassis department
        – try to sell the team and stay as an engine manufacturer

    3. Well they are seemingly paying Riccardio 50 million for 2 seasons – not to be negative to Daniel but maybe Renault would have been better off saving 45 million over 2 years by having hired Ocon instead of stealing Daniel.

      Actually the whole of F1 including the fans would have been better – only Daniel’s bank account won.
      Red Bull would have had 2 strong drivers and likely would have won the Hungarian Grand Prix as for sure Daniel would have been ahead of the Ferrari’s.
      Daniel would have certainly have been more interesting in the podium battles over the last 12 races than Gasly.
      Gasly would have gotten an extra year in Toro Rosso to mature – probably better for his career.
      Ocon would have been driving this year rather than being a 3rd driver.
      Renault would maybe do better as they had 15-20 million more to spend of Aero development something they serious lack in as clearly proven by Mclaren this year and Red Bull for the years before.

      1. Well they are seemingly paying Riccardio 50 million for 2 seasons – not to be negative to Daniel but maybe Renault would have been better off saving 45 million over 2 years by having hired Ocon instead of stealing Daniel.

        @jelle-van-der-meer completely agree, and I’m a big fan of Danny Ric, but he costs them too much for very few benefits given he can’t perform at his usual standards. And this relationship can’t last because both sides are obviously frustrated.

      2. Every now and then, I team needs to establish where their true position is in a stack. And this is something they can’t easily establish by using a wind tunnel only, or CFD. So they reference their package by getting an established driver from an established front running team.
        Perhaps they assumed Hulkenberg was not exactly a top of the line driver, even though good enough. So the best they could get was Ricciardo and it cost them good money too.
        Perhaps they feel now they should have just spent that money on their engine development, because they caliberation results have shown that Hulkenberg is more than good enough and Ricciardo isn’t all that great.
        Finally, it has confirmed that that car is also a few steps above rubbish level relative to the front running teams.
        The new problem is how do improve their performance or, how do they get their money back after establishing what was pretty obvious to most racefans.

        1. Many people thinks drivers have that much influence on car development, but those days are long gone. Most drivers can give the feedback needed for a correct car development.

      3. This is the best comment I’ve read on this site in quite awhile.

        What a realization!

        I still wonder, though, if the Renault F1 team would have been capable of applying that 45 million towards actual success.

        One can dream, however.

    4. While I completely agree that Renault have been a disappointment since their return and especially this year. I just want to point one thing out that is a”Accepted fact about Renault” but I am not sure is accurate.

      According to this web site and Keith’s analysis, Renault are actually tipping in more of their own money than everyone else. That includes Merc RB and Ferrari. Everyone.

      Yes, their overall budget is less than the top 3 by a good margin, but that comes down to sponsors and F1 money. As a team, according to this site, they are more committed than any other team when it comes to their own investment. I don’t think it their commitment to F1 that is the problem. I think the inequality of payments to F1 teams is the real problem here. Not just for Renault either. It’s destroyed F1 as well for this decade.

  4. I think renault is in holding pattern. While they have taken a step backwards this season they were not going to be competitive until 2022 earliest anyways with the budget caps. Their engine program has been really bad ever since 2014 and after 2017 it has completely stagnated. Unreliable and down on power. If the lotus team was not available for as cheap as it probably was renault would have left altogether.

  5. Renault needs to ask “serious questions” about its leadership first…
    All the other questions won’t change anything before.

  6. Renault is a disaster.

    Spending big money on a top driver when your car is garbage is just what you’d expect from a team managed by Abiteboul.

    1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
      5th August 2019, 22:01

      I like Renault – I can’t wait for Season 2 of F1 on Netflix. The Abiteboul and Horner rivalry was everything:-)

      I was expecting and hoping for a lot more from Renault this year – I think their development went the wrong way. Both drivers are looking very bad and it has to be the car at this point.

  7. Hulk is out of Renault. By his Sharp comments in the last two races (and that “you should trust me” rádio message), he already knows that. But who’s coming? OCO? BOT? GRO? Amy bets?

    1. Spot on. I think there will be quite a bit of musical chairs this autumn. Gasly is surely done for, and it looks as if he knows it. Bottas too. I’d really like to see NH in a decent car. He must be the unluckiest driver since Martin Brundle.

      1. i guess Ricci to had a performance clause in his contract. A swap at the end of the year between RBR and Renault would be a great idea.
        Ricci back in an winning car and Renault a driver that fits the ontrack performance of the car.

  8. Renault defiantly need to have a good look into their operation first they were beaten by Redbull with the same engine now they can hardly keep up with McLaren with the same engine! i used to think Redbull tinkered around with their engines which was why they kept failing when the Renaut guys were not it seems that was not the case, is it money is it infrastructure? leadership? that’s all for Renault to now decide
    Ric is a top driver and Renault need to supply a car to match his and Hulks talents

  9. They were never going to improve but its more a reflection of the culture of F1 than them. Most teams simply never move up the grid no matter how much money they throw at a car.

  10. Oh yes I agree Renault need to pull their bloody finger out. But the question I’m asking is do they have the right people developing the car? Looks like the engine is OK otherwise McLaren would be saying something. So whats left the chassis and aero package.
    Yes Ricciardo has definitely been paid a motza but Renault grabbed him in anticipation of their car being good. They also spend quite a bit at their two facilities. Anyway I’m sure many questions will be asked over the summer break of the team management. I am concerned that the board/government will look at the lack of results and decide to shut the project down.

  11. Danny Ric to Mercedes, offload Ocon to Renault. Sorry VB !!
    .
    Ric has confirmed that it is the Renault team that are underperforming and that the Hulk isnt a bad driver.
    Getting Ric off the books would make next year a bit easier financially and I think Ocon would crumble Gasly style at Mercedes against Lewis. Also, frees up a space in a few years for Russell by moving Ocon on.

    1. God, I hope Danny Ric goes to Mercedes. I would love so much to see him get a legitimate shot at the championship. Ocon to Renault, Bottas to Haas, perhaps?

  12. A couple of things.

    People need to stop believing rubbish figures about how much Dan is being paid.
    Dan wouldn’t have signed on with Renault unless certain assurances were given about how they intended to move forward as a manufacturer team.

    I suspect that the assurances given and the reality of what Cyril has presided over aren’t even close. Cyril did make it pretty clear that they were gearing the whole operation, budget etc towards 2021 but the size of the cap I think has kinda ruined that.

    There is a serious rethink needed at Renault, the first of which must be is Cyril the right person for the job.

    1. Which is like saying they were gearing the operation towards less investment.
      One doesn’t become automatically competitive just because they limited the operating budget.
      If you lacked the know-how for making a fast car, you will find it even more difficult to move forward when funds are restricted because the teams in front, have all the research information that makes their cars fast and can easily direct their budget in those areas.

      1. Thing is they’re well below the cap and that was where they “thought” it would end up.
        Renault were banking on the Big three not being able to spend as much as they have (and suffering from the disruption of redundancies etc) been and its not worked out for them.
        I agree though – they seem to be lacking in the “how to build a fast car” department

  13. Why are we all shouting?

    1. Have you ever heard the Hulk whispering?

      1. HULK ASK SERIOUS QUESTIONS

        Seriously, though: This one looks a bit weird. The “strong” tags are a bit all over the place. There’s five of them in the “YOUR BROWSER IS BLOCKING ADS” using a questionable syntax (if not downright wrong – just being cautious because I’m not an expert), and the last one on this page is an opening tag … However, they all come *after* the comments. Weird one.

    2. A BOLD statement if I ever heard one.

  14. Being beaten by customer team does not look good for a works team. Its time to open up the wallet and bring in proper chasis and aero developers.

  15. I’m wondering ig Renault will just go works deal with Mclarenand sell off the factory team

  16. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
    5th August 2019, 22:08

    If Renault doesn’t fix the car, they are going to destroy both Ricciardo’s and Hulkenberg’s careers. This is the kind of car that rookies would probably score almost no points with.

    Both drivers are solid point scorers and they only have 39 points. McLaren has double the points with a rookie who seems much more comfortable in the car than 2 drivers with 330 starts between them.

  17. I think most of us who frequent this website have a soft spot for Team Enstone. Theyre are team of racers that somehow seem to survive through the highs and some very lows. I can’t fault the team for their efforts.

    Cyril however, his time is up. The team haven’t progresses accordingly, in fact it regressed. Perhaps this as far as he can take them? Being a career Renault man, its easier said than done. Alain Prost is said to be taking a more active job in the team, I wonder what that could mean.

    Perhaps its time that Alan Permane gets promoted to Team Principal? He’s certainly qualified, knows the team inside out. He’d be my pick.

  18. Can’t resist posting a comment in this bold-only topic!

    Yes, I never liked abiteboul’s comments, criticizing red bull etc. when the team was clearly lacking both in the engine and chassis department, I was one of those who thought red bull could’ve done well even with honda, and that comments saying they’d fall behind renault were silly, and despite everything renault managed to do even worse than expected.

    @jelle-van-der-meer agree perfectly with this, waste for red bull and ricciardo that he went to renault.

  19. The solution might be for Renault to get its engines from Honda! :-0

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