Abiteboul: Public to blame for no RS20 launch

Jamie Woodhouse
Renault RS20

Negative public reaction caused Renault to ditch launch concept.

Renault managing director Cyril Abiteboul said that public reaction to past launches prompted the team to ditch the concept for the RS20.

While the launch events which teams hold to introduce us to their new challengers are far from the big productions they once were, Renault took that a step further by not even launching their 2020 challenger – the RS20.

Instead the team posted little interview snippets from an event on social media, before revealing a few renders of the 2020 car in a testing livery – at no point was any footage from the event shown live.

And Abiteboul defended Renault’s decision by pointing out that all F1 car launches are “fake” because they do not reveal the true car which will be on-track, while the public’s reaction to previous launches also rubbed his team up the wrong way.

As quoted by Motorsport.com, he said: “After last year, I read what you wrote, and I read what people say about what you write about the pictures that we post, and I got extremely frustrated from people, you know, really reacting to the cars as though they are the [real] thing.

“But actually, no one is capable of presenting a [true] car. If your team in on schedule, you don’t have a car waiting here for a couple of hours or days. Your car is built and going straight to Barcelona. That is an optimised schedule.

“So on that basis, our only option was to have a fake car, a show car altered to look like this year’s car. But that is a waste of money and the results will be frankly below optimal.

“[Plus] people will always interpret based on that. So rather than that, no car. For anyone interested in the car, look at the pictures next week.”

Abiteboul quickly dismissed any suggestion that a launch didn’t happen because the RS20 was late.

“If anything we are much more on schedule than we were last year,” he said.

“You may remember that last year we invited you guys to come to Enstone and actually I mentioned how late we were. And that was a fact.

“And probably it was also something that impacted reliability at the start because, when you are late, you are reacting and it is all about trying to catch a trains that’s gone anyway. So this year we are ahead of schedule.”

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