Renault banking on Barcelona test to initiate turn-around

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Renault F1 boss Cyril Abiteboul says the French outfit will be working hard in Barcelona this week to devise a plan to finally get itself in gear after a disappointing start to its 2019 campaign.

Renault's ambitions during the pre-season included significantly reducing its deficit to the front-runners while leading F1's mid-field charge.

Five races into the season, with just 12 points on the board, the manufacturer is nowhere near achieving those targets, its efforts undermined by a blend of bad luck and reliability issues.

Abiteboul admits Renault took a big hit in Bahrain, when both Nico Hulkenberg and Daniel Riccardo retired almost simultaneously while running comfortably in the points. But the Frenchman also cites the outfit's conservative approach as a factor of underperformance.

"I think we were caught out by the reliability issues earlier on in the season and that broke a little bit the [team] dynamic," explained Abiteboul in an exclusive interview with

"And frankly, in a sport that is involving more than 1000 people including two drivers, that is important, and that caused some damage.

"The second element, which is more tangible, is that we had to be a bit safer on a number of occasions.

"The test at Barcelona will be important to assess some elements that we brought to the car, but also to try to recover some of the performance that we had to give away because of the reliability reasons.

"And if that happens, based on the results and findings and analysis from the first five races, but also from the tests in Barcelona, we will be able to have a very, very clear assessment of the situation and more importantly a very clear action plan of what needs to be done."

Tyres have been a focal point for teams this season and Renault is no exception, with Hulkenberg and Ricciardo struggling once again with the balance of their car last weekend I Spain.

But Renault's problems are its own to solve insist Abiteboul.

"This weekend has been more balance chasing and dealing with tyres, which I think has been a problem across the grid," he said.

"It is absolutely not an excuse. It is another problem that we need to face and the test in Barcelona this week is going to address that specific issue.

"So reliability addressed, engine performance is now covered but we need a better understanding of what is needed on the chassis side to get those tyres to work, which in my opinion is now damaging us, so that will be the short term fix.

"But medium to long term, we need to do things differently because clearly what we are doing is not working in order to reduce the gap to the top teams.

"That is more of a long-term target, but that is not a reason why we should not be assessing and taking steps now."

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