After more than a decade out of the title fight Renault is taking strides forward but Cyril Abiteboul concedes it is not good enough.
Renault last won the World title back in 2006 as Fernando Alonso wrapped up back-to-back championships with the Enstone team.
Since then Renault has sold and brought back its works team but without achieving the success of yesteryear.
The team has, however, shown signs of improvement in this year’s championship with Daniel Ricciardo knocking on the door of the podium.
But, without new trophies in the cabinet, Abiteboul acknowledges that the team’s results are not good enough.
He puts that down to mistakes with previous cars that set the team back while saying Renault has yet to extract the full potential of the car and its drivers.
“It is a sport where only the result of lap time and ultimately the championship matters,” he told Motorsport.com. “And in that, it is still not that not good enough.
“But if there are some good sign of progress that is good.
“I think we had a few years back some good progression, and I think that progression sort of stopped, due to what was probably at the time a wrong aerodynamic concept of the car.
“So we made the decision to go for quite a different aerodynamic concept, which is always a risk, in particular for an organisation size like ours.
“But actually we’ve been able to not only to recover what you lose in changing concept but also progressing. And we see that it’s working.
“We’ve had good upgrades, good development in the winter, good upgrades at the start of the season. And there is a bit more to come
“What we see is that the team is starting really to work better together with all the changes that have happened, and we have a better understanding of the car.
“But the reality is that I think we are still unable to extract all the potential of the car and the team.
“We have failed to score what we should be scoring and therefore to be where we would like to be, so I’d prefer to focus on the negative rather than on the positive in a field that is so competitive.”
The Frenchman has welcomed new Renault CEO Luca de Meo, saying he brings with him the sort of passion and ambition seen during the ‘Ford v Ferrari’ days of the 1960s.
“It’s huge. It’s huge,” said Abiteboul. “And frankly, even if he is not going to interfere on a day-to-day basis, it’s a game changer for me to know that I have someone in the back expecting that the team delivers, which is absolutely fundamental, but who is also here to help at any point in time.
“He has got a good knowledge of sport, and a good knowledge of the people. Also his knowledge of the sport means he values and he appreciate the difficulty and the competitiveness of this sport.
“For me, if I draw a little bit of a comparison, it’s like the movie Ford v Ferrari. For me he is approaching it not purely as a business, but also with the emotion and the determination that Ford had in the past when they decided they wanted to beat Ferrari.”