Renault braced for 2019 compromises amid reliability issues

Renault is willing to “compromise” aspects of its 2019 season as part of its objective to pull clear of Formula 1’s midfield, in the wake of reliability issues.

Renault asserted pre-season that it had made performance and reliability gains with its power unit but it has had several problems through the opening trio of grands prix.

The MGU-K, which has been a weakness in recent years, has been at fault for a handful of the setbacks, with a suspected software issue halting Nico Hulkenberg in China.

That came in the wake of an updated specification being introduced in response to the problems that hit Renault in Bahrain, as well as the failure that truncated Renault-powered McLaren driver Carlos Sainz Jr.’s race in Australia.

All four Renault-powered drivers are on to their second MGU-Ks of the campaign meaning that one more replacement will result in a 10-place grid penalty, as per Formula 1's tight engine regulations.

Renault’s team boss Cyril Abiteboul has hinted that the manufacturer may take the hit in order to accelerate its understanding of its weaknesses.

“We have had another retirement [in China], the fourth in six starts, three of these were due to reliability issues,” he said.

“If our objective this season - to widen the midfield gap - remains unchanged then we must accept to put in strong efforts to resolve these issues that could compromise our season.

“Nevertheless, we will push on and bring new elements over the next races.

“Baku is often unpredictable, the racing there is thrilling and it is an opportunity to capitalise on rivals’ errors whilst avoiding making some ourselves.”

In spite of the reliability setbacks Renault holds fourth position in the Constructors’ Championship, albeit level on points with Alfa Romeo, albeit 40 points adrift of Red Bull.