With just two races to go for the 2019 F1 season, McLaren are 38 points ahead of Renault – and Renault seems to have understood why it is in danger of losing the duel with McLaren for the 2019 Formula 1 season.
Team boss Cyril Abiteboul explains in an interview with Motorsport-Total.com:
“McLaren built a better car, a better chassis. That’s a fact.”
And that has an effect on the performance on the race track, quite blatantly in qualifying admits Abiteboul.
“McLaren is a good half a second faster than we are.”
At least that’s how it was at the US Grand Prix in Austin. Before that, the Renault gap fluctuated enormously between a tenth and more than a second. The only thing that was constant was that Renault was behind.
This is also the picture that emerges from the season statistics of both teams: Renault started from 11th on average, McLaren from tenth. McLaren took advantage of the better starting position in the race to score an average of three points per race, while Renault scored “only” two points.
“We know in qualifying the true performance is noticeable. But this also shows the limits of the vehicle,” says Abiteboul.
“Our car has some basic characteristics that don’t work very well when you push it to the limit. In the race, where you’re more conservative, things get a lot more even.”
But then Renault has the handicap of the worse starting positions in comparison, which hides the fact that the factory team is allegedly “closer or even better” in race trim than McLaren, or this is how Abiteboul describes it.
Renault driver Daniel Ricciardo confirms this impression of an improvement in the races and says: “McLaren finds it easier to push the car to the limit. ”
“In my opinion that’s the reason why we don’t always manage to get the most out of qualifying. I think our [operating] window is widening in the race. That’s why we can turn the tables,” says Ricciardo.
It is clear, however, that Renault has a huge deficit to McLaren in 2019, and it would be a mountain to climb to surpass them now. In response to this, Abiteboul blames this not only on the grid positions but also on “strategy and racing events”.
“We know what we have to concentrate on. And we’ll just have to accept that things take time, whether we like it or not. Formula 1 is hard-core in this respect.”
“McLaren is still a fantastic team and a big name. I’m not ashamed to fight McLaren,” says Abiteboul.
Although, and let’s be honest, it’s a duel between the factory team and the customer team. A status quo Renault have long known about with Red Bull Racing.
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