Cyril Abiteboul feels it is important for his Renault F1 Team needs to ensure they maximise their opportunities at the start of the season if they want to get to where they want to be in the Constructors’ Championship.
Renault finished down in fifth position in 2019, one place lower than they achieved the year before, but the Team Principal of the Enstone-based team says missing opportunities to score good points early in the season cannot happen again in 2020.
Abiteboul does not think getting the most of the performance from the car is as important as making the most of opportunities put before them, but they cannot afford any unreliability or mistakes that can cost them valuable points and positions.
“What really matters at the start of the season, it’s not necessarily the theoretical performance of the car, it’s to be able to get out of the races what you can get,” said Abiteboul to Motorsport.com.
“So not the best outright pace, but having a robust package that can be reliable, along with a team that can be ready with a line up of drivers that can be ready to extract what the car has to offer.”
‘We did not manage to get the results’ in first part of 2019
Looking back at the start of 2019, Abiteboul feels Renault had a decent car to begin with but, for a multitude of reasons, they were not able to score the kind of points they should have done.
The conclusion to the Bahrain Grand Prix in particular was a horror show for Renault, with both Daniel Ricciardo and Nico Hülkenberg retiring from points-paying positions within seconds of each other with just two laps remaining.
“I think in the first part of this season we had a decent car,” said Abiteboul. “But it was not very visible, because we did not manage to get the results or score the points that we could have at the time, given the theoretical competitiveness of our car against our competitors.
“There were different types of reasons for that: reliability, the engine, operation at the track, a bit of pitstop, and a bit of strategy.
“Plus a bit of drivers, also particularly Daniel [Ricciardo] getting used to the car. That unfortunately cost us some points at the time where we were in decent shape.”