Renault boss Cyril Abiteboul says double points finish at Hungarian GP 'critical'
Enstone outfit still targeting fifth in the championship
By Jonathan Green
Last Updated: 01/08/17 9:46pm
Renault boss Cyril Abiteboul says it is "critical" they achieve a double-points finish at this weekend's Hungarian GP, ramping up the scrutiny on under-fire Jolyon Palmer.
Palmer has struggled in comparison to team-mate Nico Hulkenberg and has yet to finish in the top 10 this season, while Hulkenberg has scored all 26 of Renault's points so far.
The German, who had a new floor on his car, achieved his best result of the season at the British GP by finishing sixth, while Palmer was unable to start the race after a hydraulics leak on the formation lap forced him to stop on the side of the track.
Abiteboul concedes Renault need to improve their reliability but believes the team's recent upgrades should propel them into the top 10 this weekend.
"We head to Hungary with a positive mood brought about by the recent performance gains we have seen to the RS17," Abiteboul said.
"We have shown at Silverstone that we are continuing to improve. Chassis developments, in particular the new floor, proved to be positive exemplified from Nico's eight points and both cars showing strong qualifying pace.
"It's critical to back up this improvement with both cars finishing in the top ten in Hungary - we want to finish the first half of the season on a positive note.
"To achieve this, we need to put behind our reliability problems. We know our situation and the areas which require more attention.
"Our targets remain unchanged; we want to be sixth by the end of play on 30th July and fifth by the end of the season. A double-points finish is well within our reach."
To meet Abiteboul's post-Budapest expectation, Renault will have to make up seven points to Toro Rosso and three points to Haas this weekend.
Fifth-placed Williams currently hold a 15-point advantage over them at the halfway point of the season.
The battle for fifth in Constructors' Championship
Abiteboul's comments are all the more pointed following the confirmation that Robert Kubica will step up his remarkable comeback to F1 by driving for Renault at next week's test at the Hungaroring.
Renault have officially said that the test will allow them to see whether "it would be possible for Robert to return to competition in the upcoming years".
Kubica suffered career-changing injuries in a rally crash in 2011 but following two private tests with Renault, Abiteboul admitted they were considering the 32-year-old for a full-time drive again.
"Robert is someone we could be envisaging for next year. It's clear that we have to look at options for the future," Abiteboul told NBC Sports at the British GP.
"He could become one option for the future. It is not what is being discussed right now, so I don't want to create more speculation than this."
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