Ricciardo's F1 arrival left Renault "naked" with "nowhere to hide"

Jonathan Noble
Ricciardo's arrival left Renault
Ricciardo's arrival left Renault

Renault boss Cyril Abiteboul says Daniel Ricciardo's arrival last year left the Formula 1 team feeling "naked" with nowhere to hide, though being so exposed helped highlight its weaknesses.

The manufacturer endured a rollercoster 2019 campaign, during which the hype surrounding Ricciardo's arrival was tempered by reliability issues, upgrade problems and a high-profile disqualification from the Japanese Grand Prix.

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Even though Renault finished fifth in the constructors' championship, one place lower than it managed in 2018, Abiteboul said the increased focus on the outfit thanks to Ricciardo's presence was ultimately a good thing.

"For me, 2019 was a year where we became naked with nothing to hide," Abiteboul told Autosport.

"With great drivers and a much better engine, there was nowhere to hide. But you know, that's F1. You can't hide in F1.

"And because we were not hiding, we've been able to again to see what action we have to take."

Ricciardo's arrival left Renault
Ricciardo's arrival left Renault

Abiteboul said the difficulties Renault faced over the course of the season prompted analysis of what was not working, and highlighted problem areas that had previously been overlooked.

"The problems that we saw were already there from the previous year," he said.

"I think the only thing is that they were maybe not so visible because [2018] was a progression from the year before.

"We had gone from P9 to P6 to P4 and I think it was a bit flattering.

"I think we needed a year like this one to see the leftover weaknesses of the team, because some of them actually have been here since the [pre-2016] Lotus days and have not been dealt with with enough care and attention.

"That's why it makes me say that it was not a year to write off.

"I think that we would never be able to go further if we had not had the difficulty, and also the reactions that come with it."

Asked if he thought Ricciardo's arrival brought with it too much expectation, Abiteboul said: "I think my answer would be different today from maybe what it was a few weeks or a few months ago.

"On balance, having done all the things that we've done, we've done them only because we've been through what we've been through.

"And we've been through that also because of the pressure that's been inflicted on ourselves.

"I think it's actually been a good thing to expose ourselves you know."

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