Renault team principal Cyril Abiteboul has apologised to Esteban Ocon, who suffered more reliability issues when retiring from the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.
It was another contrasting race for the two sides of the Renault garage as Formula 1 returned to Imola for the first time since 2006.
While Daniel Ricciardo scored a second podium finish in the last three races by taking third position behind Mercedes duo Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas, Ocon could only watch on from the sidelines having exited on lap 28.
The Frenchman had endured a series of technical niggles with his car before finally having to give up the ghost with what the team described as a “suspected transmission problem”.
After the race, which he started from P12 on the grid, Ocon himself described the problems as “a tear-off in a brake duct, a clutch issue and in the end the drive-shaft broke, so quite a few things went wrong”.
It was not a new experience either for the 24-year-old, who has retired from three of the last five grands prix. In the nine races he has finished this year, Ocon has been in the points seven times.
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“It was a tough weekend overall, with a succession of bad luck this weekend. We are third in the championship now; we knew this is what we are fighting for so it’s good to be ending the weekend like this.” @OconEsteban
👉 https://t.co/NT8WYunz4G#RSspirit #ImolaGP pic.twitter.com/4aJnuR0am1
— Renault F1 Team (🥉 2 x 2020 f****** podiums) (@RenaultF1Team) November 1, 2020
“I’d like to apologise to Esteban as it was another retirement due to a technical issue,” said Abiteboul.
“He was not far off in qualifying and had a decent start to be in the mix despite the early stop to remove the tear-off from his ducts.
“He then suffered from an issue that caused some trouble with his gearbox and he had to retire. It’s a shame as Daniel has shown that when the car is working, there is pace and competitiveness.”
Abiteboul will be hoping the team can do everything possible to enable Ocon to help Ricciardo in the fight for third position in the constructors’ World Championship, which could hardly be closer between Renault, Racing Point and McLaren.
Although Renault now hold the position of being ‘best of the rest’ behind Mercedes and Red Bull, they have only a one-point advantage over both of their rivals with four rounds of the season remaining.
“We are now third in the Championship and need to own it and focus on the weekends that will come very quickly,” said Abiteboul, who was able to give Fernando Alonso a direct insight into the team’s workings at a circuit ahead of the Spaniard’s arrival next year to replace Ricciardo when he moves to McLaren.
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