Abiteboul: 2019 "by far the most difficult season" for me

Renault managing director Cyril Abiteboul says 2019 has been the most difficult season he has faced in Formula 1, but insists critics who say his team have "lost the plot" are wrong.

Abiteboul: 2019 "by far the most difficult season" for me

The French car manufacturer headed in to the campaign hoping that signing Daniel Ricciardo and progress on the car front would allow it to bridge the gap between the midfield and the top three teams.

But a tricky year of fluctuating form and reliability troubles has left it on the backfoot, and it is now locked in a tight fight with McLaren for fourth place in the constructors' championship.

Read Also:

Abiteboul, who has endured his fair share of challenges in a career that also saw him head the now defunct Caterham outfit, admits that things have not been easy – but also thinks that many people expected too much from Renault this year.

Asked by Motorsport.com about how the pressure has been this year, Abiteboul said: "Very high. It is a tough season, and it is by far the most difficult season that I have personally lived because of the level of expectation.

"But I don't think we announced that, and I don't think we set it ourselves directly. We always said our target was P4, and clearly we are not there, we are P5.

"But I think through our acts, and in particular Daniel, through our investment, through some of the recruitment, many people started to think that there were higher expectations. And that was not really the case.

"Still we have under delivered, but people have overestimated what were the actual expectations and actual target, which meant that the gap between the two is big."

Abiteboul says matters have also not been helped by Renault's car not having the kind of consistency that other teams have been able to find.

"We have had a car this season that is very sensitive and it works extremely well in some conditions and not so well in other conditions. So with a midfield that is so tight, it means we can move from P4 and P5 in Monza to almost P15 in Japan.

"I understand people from the outside may think we are losing the plot, but we know that certain conditions meant we are massively struggling, and there is very little we can do."

Abiteboul has admitted that Renault has had difficulties getting on top of the aero sensitivity of the current regulations, but has faith that lessons have been learned which will allow progress in 2020.

"Frankly, the last significant upgrade that we had to the car was way, way before the summer shutdown," he said. "I will not even tell you when it was!

"But we have been struggling: struggling with aero development, and it's not just aero to be honest, it is the whole system. We have been struggling with this new set of regulations.

"We sort of know what to do, but until you do it you will never know for sure. Most of that cannot be done on this year's car, it will have to be done for next year. Anything we can learn is useful, but there is so much that is to go into next year."

shares
comments
Vettel: Only real chequered flag should end races

Previous article

Vettel: Only real chequered flag should end races

Next article

Petrobras set to terminate McLaren sponsorship deal

Petrobras set to terminate McLaren sponsorship deal
Load comments
The Mercedes lap that puts F1 victory fight back on a knife-edge Prime

The Mercedes lap that puts F1 victory fight back on a knife-edge

Red Bull led the way after the first two practice sessions for the 2021 French Grand Prix, but only just ahead of Mercedes. There was all the usual practice skulduggery complicating the performance picture, but one aspect seen at the world champion squad gave it a ‘surprise’ lift, as it looks to leave its street-circuit struggles firmly in the past.

Formula 1
Jun 19, 2021
How Ferrari got its F1 recovery plan working Prime

How Ferrari got its F1 recovery plan working

After its worst campaign in 40 years, the famous Italian team had to bounce back in 2021 – and it appears to be delivering. Although it concedes the pole positions in Monaco and Baku paint a somewhat misleading picture of its competitiveness, the team is heading into the 2022 rules revamp on much stronger footing to go for wins again

Formula 1
Jun 18, 2021
The joy that exposes F1’s key weakness Prime

The joy that exposes F1’s key weakness

Long-awaited wins for ex-Formula 1 drivers Marcus Ericsson and Kevin Magnussen in IndyCar and IMSA last weekend gave F1 a reminder of what it is missing. But with the new rules aimed at levelling the playing field, there’s renewed optimism that more drivers can have a rewarding result when their day of days comes

Formula 1
Jun 17, 2021
The F1 figures Red Bull and Mercedes can't afford to see again Prime

The F1 figures Red Bull and Mercedes can't afford to see again

OPINION: An interloper squad got amongst the title contenders during Formula 1’s street-circuit mini-break, where Red Bull left with the points lead in both championships. But, as the campaign heads back to purpose-built venues once again, how the drivers of the two top teams compare in one crucial area will be a major factor in deciding which squad stays in or retakes the top spot

Formula 1
Jun 16, 2021
Why Alfa's boss is up to the task of securing a stronger F1 future Prime

Why Alfa's boss is up to the task of securing a stronger F1 future

Two tenth places in recent races have lifted Alfa Romeo to the head of Formula 1's 'Class C' battle in 2021, but longer-term the Swiss-based squad has far loftier ambitions. With the new 2022 rules set to level out the playing field, team boss Frederic Vasseur has good reason to be optimistic, as he explained to Motorsport.com in an exclusive interview

Formula 1
Jun 15, 2021
How Barnard's revolutionary McLaren transformed F1 car construction Prime

How Barnard's revolutionary McLaren transformed F1 car construction

The MP4/1 was pioneering by choice, but a McLaren by chance. STUART CODLING relates the tangled (carbon fibre) weaves which led to the creation of one of motor racing’s defining cars

Formula 1
Jun 15, 2021
Why the end is nigh for F1’s most dependable design tool Prime

Why the end is nigh for F1’s most dependable design tool

Wind tunnel work forms the bedrock of aerodynamic development in Formula 1. But as Pat Symonds explains, advances in virtual research are signalling the end of these expensive and complicated relics.

Formula 1
Jun 13, 2021
Why Mosley’s legacy amounts to far more than tabloid rumour Prime

Why Mosley’s legacy amounts to far more than tabloid rumour

The newspapers, naturally, lingered over Max Mosley’s tainted family history and niche sexual practices. But this is to trivialise the legacy of a big beast of motor racing politics. Stuart Codling weighs the life of a man whose work for safety on both road and track has saved hundreds of thousands of lives, but whose penchant for cruelty remains problematic and polarising.

Formula 1
Jun 12, 2021