Abiteboul: Down to Renault to 'crytallise' its potential


Renault F1 boss Cyril Abiteboul has no doubts about the value and quality of the French outfit in F1, but admits his team needs to fulfill its potential moving forward.

By any standards, Renault's performance in F1 since its return as a works outfit in 2016 has been disappointing.

While the team followed its mapped out five-year plan in the first three years of its return to the fray, last season saw Renault regress as it was beaten to the honorary title of 'best of the rest' by engine customer McLaren.

That result put Renault behind in terms of its scheduled incremental progress and instilled a sense of frustration in the team.

But equally frustrating for Abiteboul are the frequent questions expressed by outsiders about its future in the sport.

"We have been in F1 for 42 years in some shape or form," Abteboul told Autocar.

"I accept our lack of consistency, plus there have been some statements and changes of management. I get all of that.

"But the reality is we’re well established with two factories [Enstone and Viry Châtillon], we’re now a group of 1200 people and we’re well advanced, not only for this year but into next.

"The new Concorde is progressing in the right direction and we’ve got a set of regulations which are very positive for us. Directionally, it’s all good.

"I do accept we are part of an automotive industry that is shaking, and that is also true for Renault.

"But are we really struggling more than [Mercedes parent firm] Daimler? I’m not sure.

"The value is here already and will be only better in the future. It’s down to us to crystallise our potential, starting with our performance.

"If our performance was better, we would have to respond to fewer questions of this type."

To mitigate somewhat Renault's shortfall in terms of results, Abiteboul underlines the merits of simply being involved in F1, a venue avoided by other manufacturers. But the Frenchman also admits it’s a risky enterprise.

"It’s a risk if you aren’t capable of performing at the appropriate level – a huge risk," he said;

"Already being in F1, we have critics that we weren’t able to fight for P4 last year, which is what I believe we will be doing this year. But P4 is quite an achievement.

"There are a number of brands, including the most established that are extremely well financed, that don’t even dare go into F1 because of the risk associated."


The hope that lies on the horizon, not just for Renault but for all of F1's midfield, is that the sport's regulation overhaul - and particularly its budget cap component - will tighten the grid.

It's a valid expectation, but also one - if fulfilled - that will leave Renault without any excuses in 2022.

"For sure, we will not be able to hide forever," Abiteboul admitted. "The expectation has to be realistic and reasonable. But yes, [in 2022] we can’t hide if we aren’t capable of fighting for podiums.

"We don’t expect to dominate but fighting for podiums is the target."

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