Renault boss perplexed by more F1 exit questions

Michelle Foster
Renault boss perplexed by 'more' leaving questions

Cyril Abiteboul says he doesn’t understand why he seems to be asked the leaving question “much more” than Renault’s rivals.

Renault’s participation in Formula 1 has been spotty to say the least.

The French carmaker was a constructor from 1977 to 1985, again from 2002 to 2011, and then again from 2016 until now.

The company did, however, continue to supply engines to other teams for most of the years that it didn’t have a works outfit except for 1987 and ’88 and 1998 to 2000.

The manufacturer’s latest foray into F1 as a works team saw Renault purchase its former Enstone outfit from Lotus.

Renault, though, had been saying every year since 2016 that it was a building season except for 2019, that was supposed to be the year the team finally delivered out on track.

But it didn’t.

Daniel Ricciardo recorded Renault’s best result, P4 at the Italian GP, with the team finishing the championship in fifth place, losing out to one of it customer McLaren.

This has again led to rumours that Renault could walk away from Formula 1.

Abiteboul says it won’t.

“It’s a pressure for all 10 teams,” he told Autocar, “but there’s something a bit awkward about Renault.

“It feels to me that we have to respond to that question much more. It’s not just you asking, it’s everyone. And I wonder why.

“We have been in F1 for 42 years in some shape or form. I accept our lack of consistency, plus there have been some statements and changes of management. I get all of that.

“But the reality is we’re well established with two factories [the engines are built in Viry-Châtillon, near Paris], we’re now a group of 1,200 people and we’re well advanced, not only for this year but into next.

“The new Concorde [Agreement,] is progressing in the right direction and we’ve got a set of regulations which are very positive for us.

“Directionally, it’s all good.

“I do accept we are part of an automotive industry that is shaking, and that is also true for Renault. But are we really struggling more than Daimler? I’m not sure.

“The value is here already and will be only better in the future.

“It’s down to us to crystallise our potential, starting with our performance. If our performance was better, we would have to respond to fewer questions of this type.”

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