[F1 2018 VIDEO FEATURE] RENAULT SPORT: LOOKING TO 2019

F1 2018 may not have finished yet, but Renault Sport’s target for next year is clear, in being best of the rest after the sport’s top teams.

Since its return as a constructor in 2016, the squad has moved up five spots in the standings, but Renault team boss Cyril Abiteboul said exclusively to The Inside Line its next campaign will be one of consolidation.

AUDIO QUOTE (English) CYRIL ABITEBOUL,
MANAGING DIRECTOR, RENAULT SPORT RACING:
“The plan is to reduce the gap to the top teams first next year, being able to be a very clear best of the rest, which we are not quite yet, even though we are standing fourth into the championship.”

To close the gap, Renault is creating an all-new engine rather than use the C-Spec version as its baseline, with concerns that “structural limitations” would have held back development.

… and it needs all the grunt it can muster with Honda’s “Spec 3” power unit reckoned to be 60 brake horsepower ahead, despite being heavier.

On the driver front, Renault has a formidable new pairing for next season in Nico Hülkenberg and Daniel Ricciardo, fresh from 10-years with Red Bull, who is expected to lead the charge at the French marque.

AUDIO QUOTE (English) CYRIL ABITEBOUL,
MANAGING DIRECTOR, RENAULT SPORT RACING:
“We have, in the two of them, one of the best line-up out there. Daniel, Nico. I think it’s beyond any questions. I’m really looking forward to Melbourne to see that in action.”

And while neither driver will likely fight for a spot on the podium next year, it’s a different story altogether in 2020… 

The end goal being to recreate the glory years of 2005 and 2006, when Fernando Alonso took the squad to successive championship doubles. 

SOUNDBITE (English) CYRIL ABITEBOUL,
MANAGING DIRECTOR, RENAULT SPORT RACING:
“We love Formula 1. We are passionate, but it's not just to participate. We are on a mission, it's a long-term plan. It's going to be a long-term journey to be part of the top teams capable of fighting for wins, or for podiums first, then for wins, and then for the championship.”

This is one squad that is on the rise. And while it doesn’t have the money-no-object philosophy that rival manufacturer Honda is following to salvage its reputation… the resources are there to achieve titles.

It’s now up to both Enstone and Viry-Châtillon to deliver the performance, one that Hülkenberg and Ricciardo can use for better results.