Renault's Abiteboul: You can't hide as a team principal
Renault team principal Cyril Abitebout believes there is nowhere to hide for those in his role as the responsibility for the team’s performance ultimately lands with him, which is tough as he hates to lose.
Ahead of the 2019 campaign, the French team had aspirations of closing the gap to, or possibly matching, the performance of the top three teams in Mercedes, Ferrari, and Red Bull.
However, they found themselves in a midfield battle instead and didn’t even finish as the fourth-best team, with McLaren impressing to be recognised as ‘best of the rest’.
It has been a long time since they tasted success, which Abiteboul struggles with.
“Formula 1 is a tough sport, where you can’t hide as a team principal,” he told Motorsport Magazine.
“I’ve grown up, but I also need to keep improving my own package. It’s like everyone.
“I’m a bit Latin, I’m not just French. I’m from the southern part of France and I’m extremely emotional, I take things seriously.
“I love racing but I struggle to live with the fact we are losing every weekend, and that’s a fact. Even though we are progressing, we are losing every single weekend. Number two is the first of the losers.
“It’s a change for me. I need to learn to lose, but I don’t want to lose sight of the fact that I want to win, and that appetite for winning is still growing with these years of not winning.”
At the start of the 2010s, Renault powered Red Bull to four consecutive world championships as their engine provider, but as a works team, they last won a title in 2006.
The barren period has led Abiteboul to pledge that he will not leave the team until they get back to winning ways.
“I’ll do that when I win. That’s the challenge, a question mark,” he responded when asked if he had thought about his potential departure.
“Every single year that goes by we are getting stronger. Even this year we are stronger this year for finishing P5 than we were last year in finishing P4. I’ve no doubt about that, and that’s what matters.
“Every year we are stronger brings us closer to the ultimate goal, which is to win, which is my individual goal. Whether I make it happen or not is another story.
“But I can tell you that right now I’m not close to retiring unless I feel it’s not possible, or unless we have achieved it, and I am confident that one day this team will win. We’ve done it before, and we will do it again.”
For the upcoming 2020 campaign, Renault will have Daniel Ricciardo and the newly recruited Esteban Ocon as their drivers.
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