Renault defends 'awkward' F1 qualifying tactic for Russian Grand Prix

Renault boss Cyril Abiteboul has defended the team's "awkward" tactical decision to sit out Q2 to claim 11th and 12th places on the grid for Formula 1's Russian Grand Prix

Renault defends 'awkward' F1 qualifying tactic for Russian Grand Prix

With five drivers known to be taking back of the grid engine penalties and unlikely to run in Q2 Renault realised it could guarantee 11th and 12th places, and the advantage of a free choice of tyres for the start.

Renault has in general been harder on its tyres than rivals this year, and the team wanted to avoid the requirement to start on the hypersofts.

"It's a bit strange, a bit awkward to decide voluntarily not to try your best," Abiteboul told Autosport.

"It does say something about the whole situation between penalties and tyres and degradation and starting tyres being your Q2 tyres and so forth.

"If anything it sends a small message to all the people setting the rules.

"We've been talking about trying to secure 11th and 12th since quite a long time this season, because it's clearly an advantage.

"For the first time it was very clear it was possible on the back of penalties."

Abiteboul said all scenarios were discussed in advance, and that the strategy depended on who progressed from Q1.

"There were a couple of things we wanted to monitor," he said. "What would be the cars remaining in Q2, because if the five cars remaining in Q2 were the ones taking penalties we could have been able to go into Q3 with any tyre, which would have been interesting, and then have a normal Q3 on hypersoft.

"The second thing we wanted to see in Q1 was our potential pace if we were to go for a normal, straightforward qualifying session, where would we end up in Q3.

"If you can really start in P5, it's better than starting P11, but it was clear unfortunately that given our pace here we would not be able to do be P5."

"We decided to actually go for it, and go to the end of our constant speculation about the fact that it's probably a better position in the current set-up.

"It was very visible in Singapore, 11th, 12th, 13th, they finished seven, eight, nine or something like that, which was extreme.

"But pretty much each time the hypersoft is out that's what happens for this group of [midfield] teams."

shares
comments
Russian GP: Max Verstappen punished for F1 qualifying infringement

Previous article

Russian GP: Max Verstappen punished for F1 qualifying infringement

Next article

Alonso: F2 more fun than nonsense Russian GP F1 qualifying session

Alonso: F2 more fun than nonsense Russian GP F1 qualifying session
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Teams Renault F1 Team
Author Adam Cooper
Why Mercedes isn't confident it's really ahead of Red Bull at Imola Plus

Why Mercedes isn't confident it's really ahead of Red Bull at Imola

While Mercedes struck back against Red Bull by topping the times at Imola on Friday ahead of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, the overall picture remains incredibly close. Despite having a possible edge this weekend, the reigning Formula 1 world champion squad is not taking anything for granted...

What Mercedes must do to keep its F1 title challenge on track Plus

What Mercedes must do to keep its F1 title challenge on track

Mercedes may find itself leading the drivers' and constructors' standings after Lewis Hamilton's victory in the Bahrain Grand Prix, but it is well-aware that it came against the odds, with Red Bull clearly ahead on pace. Here's what the Brackley team must do to avoid its crown slipping

Why Tsunoda can become Japan’s greatest F1 talent Plus

Why Tsunoda can become Japan’s greatest F1 talent

While Japan's fever for motor racing is well-documented, the country has yet to produce a Formula 1 superstar – but that could be about to change, says BEN EDWARDS

Formula 1
Apr 15, 2021
Why the demise of F1's hypocritical spending habit is cause for celebration Plus

Why the demise of F1's hypocritical spending habit is cause for celebration

For too long, F1's richest teams have justified being able to spend as much as they want because that's the way they've always conducted their business. STUART CODLING says that's no reason not to kick a bad habit

Formula 1
Apr 14, 2021
The double whammy that is defining Vettel’s F1 fate Plus

The double whammy that is defining Vettel’s F1 fate

It's been a tough start to Sebastian Vettel's Aston Martin F1 career, with a lack of pre-season testing mileage followed by an incident-packed Bahrain GP. But two key underlying factors mean a turnaround is not guaranteed

Formula 1
Apr 14, 2021
The diva that stole a march on F1’s wide-bodied opposition Plus

The diva that stole a march on F1’s wide-bodied opposition

In 2017 new F1 technical regulations were supposed to add drama - and peg Mercedes back. STUART CODLING looks at the car which, while troubled, set the stage for the wide-bodied Formula 1 era

Formula 1
Apr 13, 2021
The themes to watch in F1’s Imola return Plus

The themes to watch in F1’s Imola return

Three weeks is a long time in Formula 1, but in the reshaped start to the 2021 season the teams head to Imola to pick things up after the frenetic Bahrain opener. Here's what to look out for and the developments to follow at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix

Formula 1
Apr 13, 2021
The 'new' F1 drivers who need to improve at Imola Plus

The 'new' F1 drivers who need to improve at Imola

After a pandemic-hit winter of seat-swapping, F1 kicked off its season with several new faces in town, other drivers adapting to new environments, and one making a much-anticipated comeback. BEN ANDERSON looks at who made the most of their opportunity and who needs to try harder…

Formula 1
Apr 12, 2021