Cyril Abiteboul, the managing director of Renault F1 has said that the signing of Daniel Ricciardo will help them close the gap to the top three teams, Ferrari, Mercedes and Red Bull. He said that the decision to sign Daniel Ricciardo will bring the top three teams into reach closer than would have been possible otherwise.
Abiteboul admitted that it would be unlikely that Renault would be challenging for victories during 2019 but that signing Ricciardo would keep them on course to be at the front of the grid for the 2020 season.
“I don’t see us suddenly in a position to fight for wins or fight for the championship, but it will increase the chances to stick to the road map. Daniel has increased our chances to stick to the road map, which is to fight for wins by 2020.”
Renault have previously said that they are now gearing up to push for podiums and to challenge the front runners for victories. Abiteboul explained that to achieve this would take time regardless of the teams budget or size.
“We are not limited by finance, we are not limited by budget. What is limiting us is time. Anyone who knows enough about F1 appreciates that the gap we have to the top teams will take some time to be absorbed.”
Abiteboul added: “One thing that Daniel should help us is compress that time, because suddenly everyone is more interested in Renault.”
He insisted that Ricciardo had not been lured to Renault with the promise of instant wins: “That is not what we told him, and he has been clear about that too. Daniel is a way to fast track that scarcest resource we have, which is time.”