Renault’s Cyril Abiteboul says the French outfit needs to improve its understanding of Pirelli’s tyres after both its drivers struggled on their respective rubber in Sunday’s Monaco Grand Prix.
Renault scored a double-points finish in the Principality, with Nico Hulkenberg coming home P8 while Carlos Sainz rounded off the top ten.
While the former was satisfied overall with his result, the latter was left frustrated by the team’s strategy call, questioning its decision to fit the ultrasoft compound during his single pit stop with 62 laps left on the board.
‘Bitter’ Sainz never on the right tyre at the right time
In hindsight, the Spaniard believed his crew should have gone for the supersoft tyre but Abiteboul disagreed.
“I think moving to supersoft rather than ultrasoft would have been even worse towards the end,” said the Renault Sport F1 boss.
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“At the time we were doing it, it was maybe not clear why we were doing it, but towards the end it was clear that it was the right thing to do.
“It was a very difficult race for him, he also had to let Nico past, so Nico could execute his race.
“We saw again that it’s so difficult to read into these tyres – it was looking like we were going to have a very, very difficult race with Nico, and suddenly the tyres came back to life,” he added.
The French outfit consolidated its fourth-place position in the Constructors’ standings over McLaren, but Abiteboul insists tyres are an issue the team needs to get on top of asap.
“Despite the fact it is a much better result than last year in Monaco, we were not as competitive as recent races and more work needs to be done on tyre management and understanding.
“In the current situation we are almost better to start P11 and have a free tyre choice than to start within the first ten with the qualifying tyres.
“Clearly some teams ahead of us manage to make it work, so it is possible.”
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