Renault: Today proved to be a tricky day for us

Renault F1 Team started the final Grand Prix weekend of the 2019 FIA Formula 1 World Championship with a mixed day of practice at Abu Dhabi’s Yas Marina Circuit.

Nico Hülkenberg enjoyed a smooth first session, recording the tenth fastest time. Daniel Ricciardo suffered an engine failure, which caused his session to end early.

In Free Practice 2, Nico was fifteenth with Daniel just 0.278secs adrift of Nico in sixteenth.

Alan Permane Technical programme notes

  • Nico was relatively happy with the car during FP1 where he ran Pirelli’s Medium (yellow, C4) tyre.
  • Daniel’s session ended 30 minutes early after an engine failure at the penultimate corner bringing out a red flag. The team replaced the engine, which was a high-mileage unit from the start of the season. We brought forward the ICE that was scheduled to be used on Saturday and Sunday.
  • FP2 is important here as it’s when conditions are most representative for what we’re expecting for qualifying and race.
  • Nico began on Hard tyres (white, C3) with Daniel on Mediums. After that, both cars ran the Soft (red, C5) tyre for the first time of the day, before focusing on high fuel runs.
  • What we learned today: We have a bit more performance to find for qualifying tomorrow.

Nico Hülkenberg

  • Free Practice 1: P10, 1:39.505, 22 laps
  • Free Practice 2: P15, 1:38.122, 29 laps

“It was a fairly standard Friday. The first session was hot under the sun and then things cooled in the evening where conditions are similar to both qualifying and the race. There were no particular problems for us and we worked through our programme as planned. The car felt good in the first session but we seemed to lose a bit of performance in the evening. We need to see what happened there. We’ll dig into the data and aim to make some improvements ready for qualifying.”

Daniel Ricciardo

  • Free Practice 1: P19, 1:40.850, 12 laps
  • Free Practice 2: P16, 1:38.400, 26 laps

“It wasn’t the smoothest Friday for us today. We missed a bit of running with the engine issue in the first session and, in the evening, we made some changes to the car. We were a bit off the pace, we haven’t quite found the balance yet, so we’ll be looking for some further tweaks ahead of qualifying. I’m feeling confident we’ll get there and find the sweet spot to put us in a pretty good place for tomorrow and for the race.”

Alan Permane, Sporting Director: “Today proved to be a tricky day for us. FP1 went well enough but in the cooler conditions of FP2 we didn’t quite get the tyres into their working window for the first timed laps early in the session. As always we seem competitive on high fuel and we will be looking at various settings overnight to have the car in the right configuration to make some headway in final practice and qualifying tomorrow.”