2019 has so far been a big blip in the road for Renault, which started out this season with ambitious targets - having made the jump from ninth place in the constructors’ standings to fourth in just three years.
SOUNDBITE (English) CYRIL ABITEBOUL,
MANAGING DIRECTOR, RENAULT SPORT RACING:
“Since returning into the sport in 2016, Renault really has reached maturity now in Formula 1 - after three years of transformation, of regeneration of the team, we are now ready to challenge what will be the top teams. It’s going to take a while, but those teams should be within our reach very soon now.”
But after 12 races, it’s been a rocky road with two double points scores in Canada and Great Britain. Nico Hülkenberg also earning in Australia and France. New driver Daniel Ricciardo in China and Monaco.
The Australian, though, remains upbeat about his journey with the French marque, especially with former team Red Bull still unable to build a car capable of challenging for the title.
Ricciardo switching over to Renault for a fresh challenge after sustained frustration and 10 years with the energy drinks brand.
SOUNDBITE (English) DANIEL RICCIARDO,
F1 DRIVER, RENAULT:
“They’ve been on a really good trajectory the last few years, and to try and be a part of that and help it move forward. Yeah, I’m just - I feel like revitalised.”
The squad must now see the remainder of the 2019 season as a chance to arrest its slide, and rebuild momentum for next season. It also needs to ensure that its windtunnel is correlating with on-track performance.
… especially with the squad being beaten by its customer team, McLaren - the British powerhouse two spots and 43 points behind. Toro Rosso in fifth and four points ahead must be the immediate target.
Hülkenberg must also up his game to stay with the team into 2020, making the road ahead less stable as he fights for his drive.
It’s all on the line as Renault seeks to lift itself out of a tough spot, and climb back to where it was at the end of 2018.