Renault is currently far away from victories in Formula 1 as it’s ever been since the manufacturer bought back the Enstone based squad several years ago.
The original five-year plan of the French team was to fight for the world championship in 2020. This goal was set when they took over the former Lotus racing team at the end of 2015 and returned to Formula 1 with their own factory team.
“We said five years from 2015,” team boss Cyril Abiteboul confirmed in the September issue of F1 Racing. At the same time, however, he admits that a small mistake had been made in this calculation. “It sounds like an excuse, but we didn’t think the decision [to take over the team only] would be made in December 2015,” says Abiteboul.
“In summer  we could have built a new car for 2016. But that didn’t happen. We had to use an old car.”
The Lotus acquisition lasted until December, the French squad had to drive a car in 2016 that had been given to them by the predecessor team and built with very limited financial resources.
In 2016 they collected only eight points and finished ninth in the World Championship. For Renault it was almost a lost year, which is why the original five-year plan had become a “six-year plan”, Abiteboul reveals.
As a result, the aim is not to fight for the world championship title in 2020, but only in 2021. But in this humble Judges opinion, even that doesn’t seem particularly realistic at the moment.
Despite actually wanting to lead the midfield this year, Renault is currently only sixth place. Nevertheless, Abiteboul stresses: “I am still behind the plan. But I have to accept that the intermediate steps were harder than expected.”
“We wanted to spend 15 percent less than Mercedes,” reveals Abiteboul.
“But here we’re talking about Mercedes 2015,” explains Abiteboul and reveals: “If you look at what they’re spending now, we’re 30 to 40 percent behind. We underestimated that.”
According to Abiteboul, the silver arrows have once again significantly increased their budget in recent years. But because Renault doesn’t want to invest that much, it will probably have to wait for the budget cap to be introduced from 2021.
One suspects that the board at Renault will only keep the faith in F1 if the cap is successful. The jury is certainly still out on that case.
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