Abiteboul: Renault owes 2020 progress to Ricciardo

Daniel Ricciardo

The Renault F1 Team “wouldn’t be what it is today without Daniel” Ricciardo, according to Managing Director Cyril Abiteboul.

Ricciardo’s podium last time out in the Eifel Grand Prix was not only his first since winning in Monaco in 2018, it was also Renault’s first since returning to F1 as a fully-fledged constructor in 2016.

While the Anglo-French team is still fifth in the constructors’ championship, the same position in which it finished last year, it is now only six points behind third-placed Racing Point.

“The team wouldn’t be what it is today without Daniel, despite and maybe thanks also to the year that we had together last year,” said Abiteboul.

“(It) was indeed a very painful year, which has pushed all of us, probably starting with myself, to take the measures that that we’ve taken, and also with the team in Enstone with Marcin Budkowski and so on and so forth.

“So now we are finding ourselves in a much better position for this year and for next year, and Daniel is capable of doing this type of thing. I think it’s a statement.”

The Frenchman said that it was important to share a podium with Ricciardo before he leaves the team at the end of the season.

Furthermore, the result helped justify signing the West Australian in the first place.

“It’s equally important to the team, to Daniel, to myself also,” said Abiteboul.

“We’ve been questioned about this decision of him joining us and also his decision of joining the team. So, in both directions, really.

“I think it was very important for everyone to put the commentators at bay and show why it made sense at the time. Yes, it was disappointing last year, you could argue that it was one year too early.

“But you know, there are not that many opportunities to have a driver like Daniel, who was available on the market.

“So, I still believe that it was the right thing to do at the time.”

Abiteboul also referred to comments he made when Ricciardo’s signing with McLaren was announced, preaching “unity and commitment” while not referring to the driver by name.

“I know that our communication was a bit negative when we found out that he would not stay with the team at the time,” he observed.

“But I think that it’s precisely because it was an honest, emotional, unfiltered communication at the time that Daniel is also being unfiltered and genuine in what he’s doing today for the team.”

The Portuguese Grand Prix takes place this weekend.