Renault return more difficult than expected – Abiteboul

Cyril Abiteboul - Credit: Antonin Grenier / DPPI

Cyril Abiteboul says Renault’s return to Formula 1 as a manufacturer outfit has been much harder than expected, with the team having scored only seven points in the first fifteen races of 2016.

The managing director of the Enstone-based outfit believes there was an element of naivety heading into the season but the team are working hard to both keep the motivation within the team both at Enstone and the engine department in Viry high, and to continue heading in the right direction, something shown was happening with Kevin Magnussen’s tenth place in Singapore.

Abiteboul admits that using a car that was designed at the end of 2014 for this season, and which needed modifications after being forced to switch designs to accept a Renault power unit rather than the Mercedes unit it was originally designed for, was not ideal for their return to Formula 1, but they are aiming to make the most of what they’ve got across the remainder of the 2016 season.

“It’s fair to say this season has been much more difficult than we anticipated, and to a certain degree another demonstration of the pace at which Formula 1 is evolving,” said Abiteboul to Autosport.

“The car we are using is not from this year, but more or less designed in the winter of 2014-15, to which we added at the last moment the forced introduction of the Renault engine.

“So clearly it wasn’t the best gestation you could imagine, but still we could not imagine that in 18 months there would be such a gap from this car to the others. Maybe we were a bit naive, but that’s behind us now

“What’s important is to keep our head down on a race-by-race basis and be optimistic and bullish about next year to try and keep the motivation high for the two teams, and to continue to point in the right direction.”