Date published: February 17 2019
Renault managing director Cyril Abitebouls said the team cancelled all holidays over the winter to work on the R.S 19 – inspired by Daniel Ricciardo.
Abitebouls said the act was due to motivation from the capture of Ricciardo as the Aussie signed for the French manufacturer after five years at Red Bull, where he secured seven Grand Prix victories.
Ricciardo made the switch after a 2018 campaign which was littered by reliability issues, while the 29-year-old also cited a lack of optimism in Red Bull’s switch to Honda engines.
Renault meanwhile secured P4 in the 2018 Constructors’ Championship, 197 points behind Red Bull, and Abitebouls hopes Ricciardo’s first Renault will be as competitive as possible.
“If you were standing in our position and looking at that opportunity of securing Daniel last summer and deciding not to do it what does that mean?” Abiteboul asked GPToday. “It means that you don’t believe in yourself.
“How do you want me to be standing in front of the factory and trying to motivate everyone and explaining to everyone that we are in line with the plan, but if you have one of the best drivers out there that’s available and you don’t go for him, what would that mean?
“By default we could not let that opportunity pass without seizing it. And now it’s just accepting the responsibility that this means for, for me for myself, for Renault and for the whole team.”
This responsibility also meant the team needed to make sacrifices.
“At the same time it’s a huge opportunity to motivate everyone,” Abitebouls explained.
“We made the decision in the winter about how much we push production.
“No one is complaining about that because everyone wants to give the best possible car to Daniel.
“In winter in Viry we’ve got the team open on Saturdays, we cancelled holidays. We usually have a factory shut down on week 52 before Christmas because that’s the best way to optimise resources. We cancelled that.
“No one criticised that decision on the basis of the driver that we have.
“So also on the management perspective it’s creating some pressure but it’s also an opportunity. It’s making my life easier to impose to everyone the sort of condition that we will have.”