Renault 'cancelled holidays' to boost Ricciardo's 2019 chances
Renault boss Cyril Abiteboul has revealed that Christmas holidays were cancelled at the team's Viry factory due to a desire to provide new recruit Daniel Ricciardo with the best possible car in 2019. Ricciardo left Red Bull in order to join Renault, despite his former employers ditching the French marque as engine suppliers.
Ricciardo and Renault maintain that they do not expect to be title contenders until 2021, although Red Bull believe a switch to Honda can help them compete with Mercedes and Ferrari this season.
Renault have made steady progress since returning to F1 as a works team in 2016, but Ricciardo's arrival seems to have accelerated this.
Abiteboul told GPToday: "If you were standing in our position and looking at that opportunity of securing Daniel last summer and deciding not to do it what does that mean? It means that you don't believe in yourself.
"How do you want me to be standing in front of the factory and trying to motivate everyone and explaining to everyone that we are in line with the plan, but if you have one of the best drivers out there that's available and you don't go for him, what would that mean?
"By default we could not let that opportunity pass without seizing it. And now it's just accepting the responsibility that this means for, for me for myself, for Renault and for the whole team.
"At the same time it's a huge opportunity to motivate everyone. We made the decision in the winter about how much we push production.
"No one is complaining about that because everyone wants to give the best possible car to Daniel.
"In winter in Viry we've got the team open on Saturdays, we cancelled holidays. We usually have a factory shut down on week 52 before Christmas because that's the best way to optimise resources. We cancelled that.
"No one criticised that decision on the basis of the driver that we have."
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