2016 on-track expectations low for Renault – Abiteboul


Renault Managing Director Cyril Abiteboul believes it will take time for the team to become competitive again in Formula 1, and has downplayed any potential massive gains the team could make in 2016.

Renault only completed the deal to take over the Lotus F1 Team during December, and Abiteboul knows there is not much time between now and pre-season testing to get a competitive car and engine package up and running.

“I think we need to be honest,” revealed Abiteboul to Motorsport.com. “When you decide to go F1 racing on December 18, there is no way that you can expect to have fantastic results.

“But we are coming here with a clear plan, not only for next year but also years to come. In my opinion, next year will not only be successful if we are doing well on track. There are many things that we want to do well next year, starting with the structure.

“How well do we integrate the structure? How do we integrate the people, the organisation? How do we put in place the links between the two entities? The culture, the mindset? How do we start catching up properly on the engine?

“We want an engine that is completely reliable at the start of the season, and at the first test. We want to make substantial steps.”

Abiteboul believes there is things much more important to focus on in 2016 than just scoring points, but remains modest in his expectations, but hopes to be able to become competitive in the three-year period that Renault chairman Carlos Ghosn has spoken about.

“The target for next year, it is not just about scoring points in the championship,” said Abiteboul. “We need to be humble in our expectations for next year. But there is much more that needs to come next year than just points in the championship.

“We have given a time frame in the statement that was communicated by Carlos Ghosn, and we need to be pragmatic. We know it is going to take time. But what matters is that the marketing story doesn’t wait. I think we have been very successful in F1 with Red Bull.

“We have been successful as a competitive team before, and from a marketing stand point and connection between F1 and the rest of the business, we have never been so strong.

“So what should not wait is the capacity of Renault to turn what we do on the track into tangible marketing value for the group and for the brand.

“That is really important, as that is what will give us the stability so that we have the capacity – the financial capacity and also the time – to become one of the big boys.”