Renault principal Cyril Abiteboul has been managing a “communication crisis” with results not matching expectations in 2019.
After finishing best-of-the-rest P4 in the 2018 Constructors’ Championship, the French manufacturer secured Daniel Ricciardo to partner Nico Hulkenberg and went into 2019 with a clear goal of ditching the midfield and moving closer to the top three.
However, early reliability issues and at times a general lack of pace derailed their goals, and after the Spanish GP they were as low as P8 in the standings.
But things appear to have taken a drastic positive change for Renault after the Canadian GP – Daniel Ricciardo qualified P4, before he headed a P6/7 finish with Hulkenberg in the race.
That saw them shoot up to P5 in the Constructors’, just two points behind McLaren, but Abiteboul is clear on how difficult the dark times have been for everyone involved with the team.
“It has been difficult, it has been difficult also on a personal level,” he told Autosport.
“But the difficulty was simply to define what should have been an attitude, a communication strategy, in that period of time.
“When you see such a mismatch between perception based on what we actually deliver, against what I know we are capable of doing and not just capable in theory, capable of by simply executing a proper weekend, then I cannot challenge that.
“That is really difficult because you need to manage some form of communication crisis, weekend after weekend.
“And that is also a lesson about this world and the expectation and impatience of this world.
“But frankly our style, including my style, is to have a straightforward open communication and to say things where they are.”
Renault brought an engine upgrade to Monaco after they had been forced to run at reduced power following their double-retirement in Bahrain.
It seems to have done the trick, and while an aero upgrade is also planned for the French GP, Abiteboul insists that all they have done is returned to running at the pace they originally had available.
“Frankly we did nothing special, apart from doing what we should have done at every single race since the season started,” Abiteboul said about the strong showing in Canada.
“There is nothing new in the engine, we are just operating the engine in the way it should have been operated if we had not had the issue that we had.”
Ricciardo’s qualy lap in Montreal was 0.8s down on pole, a 0.4s improvement on their efforts there last season, which is in-line with Abiteboul’s targets.
“The target was to start reducing the gap to the top and that is starting to happen,” he explained.
“And that is clearly a relief to know that we are capable of showing to the outside world what we know is happening.”