Daniel Ricciardo, Renault, Nurburgring, 2020

Renault vindicated by podium finish after “very painful” 2019

2020 Eifel Grand Prix

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Renault team principal Cyril Abiteboul says the team’s first podium finish since its return to Formula 1 in 2016 was a “statement” to its critics.

The team has made gradual progress since Renault took over its former F1 operation at the end of 2015. However it suffered a setback last season, when it fell from fourth to fifth in the championship.

That coincided with the high-profile signing of Daniel Ricciardo from Red Bull. Before this season began, Ricciardo signed a deal to join McLaren in 2021.

However Renault has made further gains during 2020, culminating in the first podium of their new era at the Nurburgring yesterday.

Abiteboul acknowledged the team had “been questioned” over the timing of its decision to sign Ricciardo and his subsequent departure. “I think it was very important for everyone to put the commentators at bay and show why it made sense at the time.

“Yes, it was disappointing last year. You could argue that it was one year too early, but there is not that many opportunities to have a driver like Daniel who is available on the market. So I still believe that it was the right thing to do at the time,” he said.

Renault’s difficult 2019 campaign spurred them to improve this year, said Abiteboul. “The team wouldn’t be what it is today without Daniel and maybe thanks also to the year that we had together last year.

“[It] was indeed a very painful year which has pushed all of us, probably starting with myself, to take the measures that we’ve taken. And also supported with the team in Enstone with Marcin Budkowski and so on and so forth.

“Now we are finding ourself in a much better position for this year and for next year and Daniel is capable of doing this type of thing. So I think it’s a statement.”

Ricciardo’s decision to leave Renault for McLaren was met with a terse statement by Abiteboul at the time. “I know that our communication was a bit negative when we found out that [he] would not stay with the team at the time,” he said on Sunday at the Nurbugring.

“But I think that it’s precisely because it was an honest, emotional, unfiltered communication at the time that Daniel is also being unfiltered and genuine in what he is doing.”

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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10 comments on “Renault vindicated by podium finish after “very painful” 2019”

  1. I’m happy about the tattoo and all… but vindicated? I don’t buy that.

    Renault did nothing (I assume….) about imploding Ferrari. So the out-of-reach class gets cut to 4 cars. One driver is struggling so Renault can beat him, fair point. But to me it’s more about that driver not getting the potential from the car then the Renault being faster. These facts make it more likely a car from F1,5 can claim a podium. If one of the Mercs falls away and the one Red Bull which you may or may not beat… then again there is nothing Renault did. And to consider Renault is saying this at this race in particular… They did nothing (assuming again) about that SC that wiped out Perez’ tire advantage. The cards were dealt in their favor. Still had to make the play, fair enough. But ‘vindicated’… They would have been lapped for 3rd place and were helped out by the SC in their fight with Racing Point.

    I don’t think too highly of Cyril I suppose…

    1. Spot on. The three year plan to win championships, which turned into a five year plan, has finally produced a podium, but as you say they didn’t do that much to earn it really. Could you imagine Steiner with Renault’s resources? Abiteboul is a joke. Vindicated? Pfft.

    2. I very much agree that whilst this is good for both Renault and F1 (believe me, I am happy for them, especially Ric), this in no way is any kind of vindication.
      7 teams have been on the podium this season, and they are the 7th to achieve that. That is poor. They should have been the 4th or 5th at worst (based on team size and constructor positions the last 2 years).
      The Ferrari situation and Albon’s iffy performance has really given an incentive to be the bets of the rest with an outside podium chance if something happens to one of Ham, Bot, Ver. Renault really need to be achieving that “best of the rest” more frequently.
      I would say if they get no more podiums this season, then there is no vindication.

      1. I went to look up the 7 teams who scored a podium… HOW on earth did Ferrari (Leclerc) get two?

    3. Pretty harsh, i think theyworked themself upwards slowly and has put themself in a much better position this years in the total standings, it hasnt been just at one instance. The midfield compteition is razor sharp, so its not easy to get out on top (of the midifield). Of course they have been helped this year by the Ferrari engined teams that now all have to play with the same rules as the others. Abiteboul might not be the best guy to have in his position, but taking in account the limited budget they put into it Ive never expected them to beating the mercs either…

      1. I reread my comment before I posted it because I thought I might be a bit harsh. But actually, I think I’m quite fair representing the facts. I didn’t even mention the other car retired because of reliability. Therefore I believe my comments are closer to the truth than Cyril’s.

        I’d buy it if with this podium they rose tho 3rd in the constructors.
        Or if he would say it after Spa or something. A good performance on merit, not by default and circumstances.

        I think @eurobrun captures it nicely with “7 teams have been on the podium this season, and they are the 7th to achieve that”.

        1. Maybe I need to add: I am very happy though with the podium. Although I would prefer to see it play out as it was going to before the SC. Would Perez make it, would he gain enough per lap, would Ricciardo make it, could he prevent his tires dropping off a cliff?

  2. I think the relationship between Ricciardo and Renault in particular Abiteboul will be long and respectful. There has been no burning of bridges as both parties have worked hard to deliver what they promised and on the whole they have succeeded. It shows the character of both men that they have been able to work in a high pressured profession through some pretty rough patches, to bring the team from a bit of a joke and embarrassment to a podium car.

  3. baasbas:

    U forgotten about the past race where Albon took the podium from Ric after the safety card bunched them up?
    It’s all part of racing.

    So next 2 years u will continue to use ferrari as an excuse? Nobody’s fault their have a lousy car other than themselves.

  4. A statement to its critics? Haha, he is so much fun this Abiteboul. 5 years behind on target and a podium purely due to DNFs of others.

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