Renault Sport F1 boss Cyril Abiteboul believes that he can trace the origins of the Renault power deficit. He says that the gap to Mercedes goes back to a decision taken by Flavio Briatore over ten years ago! Since the V6 turbo hybrid era began in Formula 1, there have been numerous theories from Renault about the performance and reliability shortcomings.
The French manufacturer previously boiled everything down to driveability issues, a far too aggressive approach or vice-versa. Other explanations included inventory shortfalls with regard to crucial components and various engineering difficulties.
But Abiteboul is confident that the main culprit for Renault’s downfall is Briatore. Flavio Briatore was in charge of the team a decade ago and, according to Abiteboul, took one ill-inspired decision. Abiteboul said, “Viry-Châtillon is a team which needs to be rebuilt and where everyone needs to learn to work together once again. Today, we continue to pay the price for Flavio Briatore’s decision back in 2007 to fire hundreds of people when it was decided to freeze engine development.”
The F1 boss maintained that it was a withdrawal from F1 that caused the Renault power deficit to its rivals. Meanwhile Mercedes continued its activities, acquired Ilmor and invested in the future with several road-going projects. Abiteboul explained the current difference between Renault and Mercedes’ respective state of affairs. He said, “Since I’ve taken charge (in 2014), I’ve recruited about a hundred people at Viry-Châtillon. The structure has obviously been modified, with a redistribution of responsibilities. People now need to work together, and understand each other without words.”
Renault are currently preparing for the 2018 season with the works team, the Red Bull team and the McLaren team. How will they perform in the upcoming season compared to Mercedes and Ferrari? This question will be answered when all teams have launched their cars are head to Australia.