Cyril Abiteboul feels his Renault Sport Formula 1 Team were around a decade of development behind their rivals when they returned to the sport as a works team ahead of the 2016 season.
The Managing Director of the Enstone-based team says the team had been lacking in investment ever since the final few seasons of the last incarnation of Renault that ended at the end of the 2011 season, and all the way through their spell as the Lotus F1 Team that concluded at the end of 2015.
Previous owners Genii Capital were unable to put the kind of funds into the team needed to be competitive, and they scored only one podium finish in the final two seasons before Renault reassumed control ahead of 2016.
“There was clearly a lack of investment under previous ownerships,” said Abiteboul to Motorsport.com. “But also at the end of Renault ownership, in the previous cycle, we really lost opportunities to modernise the place.
“If you go back into this sort of 2007/2008/2009 period, it was far from being great and it was the start of the lack of investment in Enstone. So we almost need to play catch-up since 2007/2008, so that is almost 10 years where F1 has changed completely the universe.”
Since becoming the works Renault team once more, they have been bringing in people and improving the infrastructure at Enstone thanks to investments from new partners, with Abiteboul pleased to see just how far they’ve come in such little time.
“We have a big job to accomplish and as far as I can see we are aligned with that,” said Abiteboul. “The infrastructure is coming up, people are coming up, the commercial side – I know it is not super exciting, but it is also important to be able to finance that.
“We have had a very successful campaign of acquisition of new partners and they believe in the project, they can see the improvement at the factory but also at the track.”