The French engine manufacturer was plagued by negative press after a disappointing showing in Australia, but Abiteboul says encouragement can be drawn from both Ferrari's breakthrough and from their own improved form in Malaysia.
"Ferrari has done a great job in the last few months," Abiteboul said. "It shows that Mercedes can be caught if all the ingredients are there.
"We need to focus on our job, play the long game and keep pushing every time we hit the track."
After all four Renault-powered cars scored points at Sepang, Abiteboul added: "We said after Melbourne that we needed to react to the problems, but not overreact and we can see that the measures and countermeasures put in place since then have played dividends here.
"Engine-wise we are much more where we should have been in Australia. Reliability has globally been good - as it should be - and the improvements to driveability have allowed the teams to focus on the set-ups and see where the true performance of the cars is at the moment.
"Finishing one lap behind the leaders isn't where we need to be, but now we have very clear targets."
Remi Taffin, Renault's director of operations, insisted there are still clear areas in which improvements can be made even after the progress made between Australia and Malaysia.
"Four cars in the points after one of the toughest races of the year shows the amount of work that has gone on behind the scenes in the last two weeks," he said.
"Absolute performance can be and will be improved while we are some way behind the front of the pack. We clearly have some potential in hand and improving reliability will allow us to get closer in the near future. We'll work hard with Toro Rosso and Red Bull to make sure we're maximising this potential."
Two rounds into the season and Toro Rosso lie fifth in the constructors' standings on 12 points, one place and one point ahead of Red Bull.