Renault fuel problem will “bite again” without fix

Renault Formula 1 boss Cyril Abiteboul says that the team must address a fuel pressure issue which affected Carlos Sainz in the latter stages of the Spanish Grand Prix.

A fuel pressure problem had also hampered Nico Hulkenberg in Q1 in Barcelona, leaving the German towards the back of the grid, although Abiteboul believes this was not related to what happened to Sainz.

“We had a bit of a warning on fuel pressure [on Sainz’s car] towards the end of the race,” Abiteboul told Motorsport.com.

“And we had to manage it, and Carlos did that by going a bit easy in Turn 3, which is always a very challenging corner for fuel pressure.

“We don’t think it was related to Nico’s problems [on Saturday] because we found an object in Nico’s fuel tank which was blocking.

“But it’s a problem that we’ve seen before, and that can happen in high-G corners like Turn 3, so that’s something that we need to fix, because there are a couple of races where it’s going to bite again.”

In Spain, Hulkenberg started only 16th and was eliminated by first lap contact with the spinning Romain Grosjean.

Abiteboul acknowledged that it was up to the team to ensure that its drivers avoid technical issues and qualify near the front and clear of potential incidents.

“To stay away from trouble we need to qualify where we belong. We don’t belong to this world [at the back], and for that we need to give him a car that has no problems on Saturday, and we won’t be in that mess.”

Abiteboul added that a second consecutive good result for Sainz has given the Spanish driver some good momentum after a difficult start to the season.

Sainz followed his fifth place in Azerbaijan with seventh in his home race last weekend.

“It’s the second good one in a row. It looked like it was easy from outside, but inside there was much more stuff going on.

“I’m really happy to have that sequence of two consecutive races, because I really think that it will help him to build his momentum, you could feel that it was an important race for him.”

The Renault boss is confident that the team can do a good job in the next race in Monaco, where outright power will be less of a factor.

“It’s always a good opportunity to expect something a bit different, so that’s exactly what we are intending.

“We have some upgrades coming for Monaco, we have two drivers who in my opinion are among the best, and can always extract something interesting.

“So we are going there very positive, and we are going there also fourth in the championship, which was our target for the first part of the season. It’s good to go there with that mindset.”