There’s no doubt that 2019 has been a difficult year for Renault, with the French marque languishing in fifth place in the standings, under fire from Racing Point and Toro Rosso…
… and disqualified from last month’s Japanese Grand Prix - for its brake bias system that was ultimately deemed a driver aid given it reduced the pilot’s workload behind the wheel.
Renault didn’t appeal the stewards’ decision, but it did label the sanction disproportionate and inconsistent - and backed up the pure commitment required to fight at the front.
“Formula One will always be an arena for the relentless search for the slightest possible opportunities for competitive advantage,” the statement said.
2019 was meant to be the French marque’s season of consolidation… to cement fourth in the standings, stand out from its midfield rivals and close the gap to the top teams.
That upward trajectory - having risen up from ninth in 2016 - snagging a disillusioned Daniel Ricciardo from Red Bull, who was impressed with Renault’s growth upon arrival.
SOUNDBITE (English) DANIEL RICCIARDO,
F1 DRIVER, RENAULT:
“I guess there’s one thing you want to see when you walk into a workplace is activity and there was plenty of that. And a lot of like kind of shy but happy faces waving to me and saying hi, so that was kind of cool. I liked it.”
But Renault is still building up with Pat Fry set to join the team’s technical management next year - when it hopes to close the gap to the top teams, ahead of the midfield.
An important target to reach with its continued involvement in F1 on the line - the brand about to embark on a major strategic review…
And, if it’s to keep top gun Ricciardo - who scored points for the second-straight race in Austin, sixth a confidence builder - en-route to closing out his debut season with Renault.
And he will need that confidence, with Esteban Ocon replacing Nico Hulkenberg in 2020, the Frenchman much-loved at Enstone, and also highly rated by Ricciardo.
AUDIO QUOTE (English) DANIEL RICCIARDO,
F1 DRIVER, RENAULT:
“I think he’ll bring that youth. Obviously I still carry the youth I believe but the experience but he’ll just be pure energy, pure motivation and I’m looking forward to that. And he’s very talented, for sure.”
The ingredients are all there for a bright future, but now it’s all in Renault’s hands to bring its dreams to life.