Renault Sport Formula One Team must bring new parts to races quicker than planned to remain competitive in the midfield, says Cyril Abiteboul.
Renault have had a mixed start to the 2018 season, seeing drivers Nico Hulkenberg and Carlos Sainz Jr. pick up just fifteen points between them in the first two races. Though this is more than at this point last year – when the team scored no points – Abiteboul says the increased competitiveness in the midfield makes it more important than ever to bring new parts, and that Renault will have to do so faster than planned.
“Bahrain consolidated the start we saw in Melbourne. Nico was able to score a good haul of points and fight for position at the sharp end of the midfield.
“Carlos had a more difficult race – his pace was good but he was compromised by a poor start and found it difficult to regain ground.
‘We saw yet again how competitive this season is and how every detail has to be absolutely on point. In such a dynamic midfield, we must accelerate the deployment of our performance plan.”
Despite Sainz’s difficult race there are positives to be drawn, says Abiteboul. Renault’s ability to complete quick, error-less pit stops (which hasn’t been a guarantee this season), along with their work in the off-season, has provided the team with a good base to grow from this season.
“But there are positives too; our car has potential, our overall execution level is good and we have shown a great improvement in pit stops, demonstrating the reward of months of work from design, R&D, production and race team departments.
“It needs to be confirmed in the next races, but we should use this as an element of pride for the capacity of the team to progress quickly.”
Turning his attention to this weekend, Abiteboul said he’s looking forward to visiting Shanghai as it gives him the opportunity to visit DRAC (Dongfeng Renault Automobile Company) – the joint venture that sees Renault-badged cars sold in China.
“Shanghai is an important race for the team. As well as keeping our on-track momentum moving forward, our off-track activation will equally be important. We have an expansive programme with DRAC (Renault’s joint venture in China) and Renault Sport Formula One Team’s partner, Tmall. I’m really looking forward to getting over to China and seeing how everything unfolds.“