Abiteboul: Need for ‘stronger technical leadership’ sparked Renault aero restructure
Renault’s recent bolstering of their aerodynamics department, with the return of ex-Ferrari and McLaren man Pat Fry, was catalysed by 2019’s “struggles” and a need for better leadership in their technical department, says Team Principal Cyril Abiteboul.
“I think it’s fairly straightforward what we’re trying to achieve," he commented. "This year has been marked by an amount of satisfaction, but also some struggles. It’s clear that this position of P4 that we had last year is going to be challenging to retain this year, to say the least, against [McLaren].”
Renault managed to secure fourth place in the 2018 constructors’ championship with 122 points over Haas’s 93, while this year the yellow team sit at 83 points after 19 races, compared to fourth-place McLaren’s haul of 121 points so far.
We’ve been focussed on growing, in terms of quantity, making up the numbers, it had to be done
“We’re also in a close fight against Toro Rosso, and Racing Point, so [we've had] a number of challenges. We’ve been focussed on growing, in terms of quantity, making up the numbers, it had to be done.
"But in parallel we need also to look for a bit stronger technical leadership and making the team stronger in that area where we were a bit lean at that level – so that’s exactly what we’ve done by restructuring our aero department with a mix of external recruitment and internal promotion.”
The Enstone/Viry-based squad, which returned to F1 as a ‘works’ team in 2016, enjoyed consecutive years of improvement having bounced from ninth in 2016 to sixth the following year. But with P5 in their sights in 2019, Abiteboul admitted that it’s not enough, given their leading infrastructure and investment.
“The aero department is a big department with very nice facilities, state-of-the-art equipment, so they know they need to deliver more,” he added.
The pressure will well and truly be on Renault in Brazil, however, as they haven’t quite cemented fifth in the constructors’ championship above Racing Point and Toro Rosso.
And their only point in Interlagos during the hybrid era has been delivered by the outgoing Nico Hulkenberg, back in 2017.
Constructors' standings after the US GP
|6 Racing Point
|7 Toro Rosso