Rise to best of the rest ‘flattered’ Renault

Date published: January 9 2020

Renault boss, Cyril Abiteboul, feels the team’s rise to P4 since returning to Formula 1 left them in a situation that was “a bit flattering”.

Renault’s rise to best of the rest came in 2018 and there was an expectation, especially with Daniel Ricciardo joining from Red Bull, that the team could then focus on closing in on the top three in 2019.

However, they slipped back down the rankings to P5 and the drop would have hurt even more having been leapfrogged by their engine customers McLaren in the process.

Abiteboul believes that initial rise flattered Renault, but all is not lost after a weaker 2019 as it has shown him and everyone else what the remaining weaknesses are to left to address.

“The problems that we saw were already there from the previous year,” Abiteboul told Autosport.

“I think the only thing is that they were maybe not so visible because [2018] was a progression from the year before.

“We had gone from P9 to P6 to P4 and I think it was a bit flattering.

“I think we needed a year like this one to see the leftover weaknesses of the team, because some of them actually have been here since the Lotus days and have not been dealt with with enough care and attention.

“That’s why it makes me say that it was not a year to write off.

“I think that we would never be able to go further if we had not had the difficulty, and also the reactions that come with it.”

Abiteboul said that the arrival of Ricciardo left Renault in a “naked” state with “nothing to hide” in the 2019 season.

“For me, 2019 was a year where we became naked with nothing to hide,” Abiteboul added.

“With great drivers and a much better engine, there was nowhere to hide. But you know, that’s F1. You can’t hide in F1.

“And because we were not hiding, we’ve been able to again to see what action we have to take.”

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