Cyril Abiteboul says the second season since the Renault Sport Formula 1 Team became a works team again in the sport was a successful one, particularly as they jumped from ninth to sixth in the Constructors’ Championship.
Talking at the launch of the 2018 RS18 on Tuesday, the team principal of the Enstone-based team says the rebuilding process continues to gather pace, and the improvements between 2016 and 2017 was a testament to those involved in the development of the team.
“Last year was successful in many ways,” said Abiteboul. “It was the second year in our rebuilding and a further step towards our long-term plans and aims.
“2016 was all about recruiting, investing, bringing in new sponsors, new talents and building our brand. Over the past year I’ve seen progression in many areas: ninth to sixth in the standings – in many races we were often the fourth fastest team on the grid.
“This is a testament to our drive, commitment and adherence to a very ambitious plan. It was a quantified progression towards what we want to become and challenging the top teams.”
Renault will field a strong-looking line-up of Nico Hülkenberg and Carlos Sainz Jr. in 2018, and with them Abiteboul feels positive about the team’s chances.
“We have everything to be positive about this year,” said Abiteboul. “We have two very talented and ambitious drivers.
“Last year Nico gave us exactly what we needed with his experience, knowledge and ability to lead both on and off track. Carlos joined us at the end of the season and he brought something fresh, and he scored points to help us in the Constructors’ battle. Without that we wouldn’t have finished where we finished.”
Abiteboul insists Renault’s target in 2018 is to further improve on last season and continue the upward swing they’ve shown since they return to Formula 1 as a works team.
“Our headline target is to show continued progression through results,” said Abiteboul. “We want to be able to showcase our progression in every regard; power unit, chassis, operations, drivers. Everything must improve and we must continue to grow.
“We want to demonstrate this in many different ways, from the teams we will be directly racing against, to the gap to the leaders, including also our fan base and the respect that our team will inspire in our way we behave on and off track.”